Chain of custody is not clear: official
The U.S. intelligence community has assessed with “varying degrees of confidence” that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons on a small scale, specifically the chemical agent sarin, said the White House on Thursday.
In identical letters to Senators Carl Levin and John McCain, the White House said its assessment is based in part on physiological samples, adding, “the U.S. intelligence community assesses with some degree of varying confidence that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons on a small scale”.
“Our standard of evidence must build on these intelligence assessments as we seek to establish credible and corroborated facts. For example, the chain of custody is not clear,
so we cannot confirm how the exposure occurred and under what conditions,” said Miguel E Rodriguez, Assistant to the U.S. President and Director, Office of Legislative Affairs.
“Precisely because the President takes this issue so seriously, we have an obligation to fully investigate any and all evidence of chemical weapons use within Syria. That is why we are currently pressing for a comprehensive United Nations investigation that can credibly evaluate the evidence and establish what took place,” said the letter dated April 25, a copy of which was obtained by PTI.
U.S. Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel also went public to allege that the America has evidence that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons in Syria.
“We are also working with our friends and allies, and the Syrian opposition, to procure, share and evaluate additional information associated with reports of the use of chemical weapons so that we can establish the facts,” said the White House letter to a question asked by the Senators a day earlier.
“Given the stakes involved, and what we have learned from our own recent experience, intelligence assessments alone are not sufficient — only credible and corroborated facts that provide us with some degree of certainty will guide our decision-making and strengthen our leadership of the international community,” said the White House official.
Noting that the U.S. and the international community have a number of potential responses available, the official said no option is off the table.
A day earlier, Senators John McCain, Carl Levin, Bob Corker, Robert Menendez, Saxby Chambliss, Bob Casey, Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte in a letter urged U.S. President Barack Obama to answer the question of whether the Assad regime — or Syrian elements associated with, or supported by the regime — have used chemical weapons in Syria since the current conflict began in March 2011. — PTI
Specifically the chemical agent sarin Assessment based on physiological samples
Specifically the chemical agent sarin
Assessment based on physiological samples