Capitol Hill pounced on the Obama administration’s flailing rhetoric about red lines after a slip of admonition that the Syrian regime most likely used chemical weapons.
“We cannot have a situation in which chemical or biological weapons are falling into the hands of the wrong people,” Obama said in August. “We have been very clear to the Assad regime but also to other players on the ground that a red line for us is, we start seeing a whole bunch of weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my equation.”
That equation, he said, would figure in “contingency plans” about which he did not elaborate.
In a statement delivered in the United Arab Emirates during his Mideast tour, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the White House this morning “delivered a letter to several members of Congress on the topic of chemical weapons use in Syria.”
The letter, Hagel said, “states that the U.S. intelligence community assesses with some degree of varying confidence that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons on a small scale in Syria, specifically the chemical agent sarin.”