Obama’s Red Line on Chemical Weapons Morphs Into a ‘Chain of Custody’ Probe
April 30, 2013 - 8:39 am
President Obama said a “chain of custody” on Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons needs to be established before making good on his red-line promise to take action.
At an impromptu press conference this morning, Obama gave a vague response that a “game-changer” would mean putting into action a strategy of “rethinking” policy.
“I think it’s important to understand that for several years now what we’ve been seeing is a slowly unfolding disaster for the Syrian people,” Obama said, claiming in the next breath that the U.S. has not simply been a “bystander” to the carnage.
Obama wouldn’t say whether a game-changer has taken place but acknowledged “what we now have is evidence that chemical weapons have been used in Syria.”
“We don’t know how they were used, when they were used, who used them. We don’t have a chain of custody to establish what exactly happened,” he said. “I’ve got to make sure we have the facts.”
The president claimed “if we end up rushing to judgment” support of the international community would be lost. France and Britain have already declared Assad has used chemical weapons.
When pressed on what a game-changer means, “By game-changer I mean we would have to rethink the range of options that are available to us.”
Asked about a report that State Department employees were being warned not to testify on Benghazi, Obama said he was “not familiar” with what the reporter was asking about.
“I’m not familiar with this notion that anybody has been blocked from testifying,” said Obama. “So what I’ll do is I will find out what exactly you are referring to.”
The president did give a lengthy answer at the end of the press conference, though, praising NBA player Jason Collins for coming out of the closet and being a role model to kids.
Obama said Collins can say, “I’m still 7 foot tall and can bang with Shaq.”