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House Intel Chair: 'Red Line Has Been Crossed' in Syria

1:00 PM, Mar 24, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
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House Intelligence Committee chair Mike Rogers said this morning on CBS that "it is abundantly clear that that red line has been crossed." Watch here.

"I think that it is abundantly clear that that red line has been crossed," said the House Intel chair, about chemical weapons being used in Syria. "There is mounting evidence that it is probable that the Assad regime has used at least a small quantity of chemical weapons during the course of this conflict."

President Obama has maintained that the use of chemical weapons in Syria would cross a red line. But he is not yet willing to say whether chemical weapons were used last week in Syria.

" With respect to chemical weapons, we intend to investigate thoroughly exactly what happened. Obviously, in Syria right now you've got a war zone. You have information that's filtered out, but we have to make sure that we know exactly what happened -- what was the nature of the incident, what can we document, what can we prove. So I've instructed my teams to work closely with all of the countries in the region and international organizations and institutions to find out precisely whether or not this red line was crossed," Obama said the other day in Jordan when asked about the chemical weapons in Syria.

"I will note, without at this point having all the facts before me, that we know the Syrian government has the capacity to carry out chemical weapon attacks. We know that there are those in the Syrian government who have expressed a willingness to use chemical weapons if necessary to protect themselves. I am deeply skeptical of any claim that, in fact, it was the opposition that used chemical weapons. Everybody who knows the facts of the chemical weapon stockpiles inside Syria as well as the Syrian government's capabilities I think would question those claims. But I know that they're floating out there right now.

"The broader point is, is that once we establish the facts I have made clear that the use of chemical weapons is a game changer. And I won't make an announcement today about next steps because I think we have to gather the facts. But I do think that when you start seeing weapons that can cause potential devastation and mass casualties and you let that genie out of the bottle, then you are looking potentially at even more horrific scenes than we've already seen in Syria. And the international community has to act on that additional information."

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