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by
Bridget Johnson

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September 5, 2013 - 1:06 pm

The chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee says she respects the “overwhelmingly negative” comments coming into her office from constituents on Syria strikes, but at the end of the day she’s seen more information than they have to make a decision.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said the multiple briefings she’s attended have become “more and more inclusive as the intelligence community puts more together,” and the information shows that the strike on a Damascus suburb happened much later than the administration’s crossing of the red line.

“I know there are at least 11 to 14 prior small incidents and then this larger incident. So I have no doubt that chemical weapons have been used,” Feinstein said at an availability with reporters.

She had asked the CIA to prepare a DVD with the specific visual evidence they were using to ascertain chemical weapons usage. “And we received that this morning. And it’s horrendous.”

It’s being copied and sent to every member of the Senate and perhaps members of the House to view “at their leisure.”

“They have one of the largest, if not the largest storage base of chemical weapons in that part of the world. So if they use it, and they use it as we know they’re able to use it, in large amounts, the devastation is huge,” Feinstein said. “Now, I think 428 children dead on the ground and 1,400 adults, that’s a lot of people. We know that they’ve used it between 11 and 14 times before, but in smaller amounts. I’ve sort of looked at that that they were testing it in some way. So it’s a very serious situation.”

For her undecided colleagues on both sides of the aisle, the senator said she’s trying to ensure “that they have all the information they need.”

“And that’s a big job in itself. So we will keep doing that. And hopefully they will go to other briefings. I mean, they can certainly be undecided, up to the vote, but, you know, there’s a moment of truth in all of this.”

She acknowledged that the Californians who have been contacting her office are harder to convince.

“Every day, I get a report on what the calls are, where the calls are coming from, what the nature of the argument is, and there’s no question, what’s coming in is overwhelmingly negative. There’s no question about that,” Feinstein continued.

“But you see, then they don’t know what I know. They haven’t heard what I heard. And I like to believe now, after 20 years, that I have some skill in separating the wheat from the chaff in this thing, of knowing where we were when Iraq was considered and where we are with this. I don’t want to see nations using chemical weapons with abandon.”

She added that she agrees “to a great extent” that the U.S. is “not the world’s keeper.”

“With respect to the use of chemical weapons, is that if you leave it unanswered, you send a message by that lack of answer,” said Feinstein. “And we can’t do that. I mean, you can look at the children. You can look at the adults. You can look at the convulsions, and it’s hard to believe this is a civilized world.”

“…I think the effectiveness is really up to the military, how they put this together to deter and degrade this chemical weapons effort that’s going on and has gone on for some time now in Syria. Enough.”

The Senate chairwoman and her Republican counterpart in the House, Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), are on the same page.

“This isn’t about, you know, Barack Obama versus the Congress. This isn’t about Republicans versus Democrats,” Rogers said Sunday.

“This isn’t a reality TV show. I mean, at the end of the day, there’s something that will actually happen. People will lose their lives. Nations will make a decision moving forward on chemical and biological weapons based on what we do here. And so, again, we cannot make this about the president versus Congress, or him shuffling off responsibility. We can have all of those debates at another time. This is really about the credibility of the United States of America standing up for an anti-proliferation and use of chemical and biological weapons. It’s that serious.”

Bridget Johnson is a career journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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Top Rated Comments   
Di-Fi is still the same stupid, opinionated, know-it-all she has always been. After 20 years, she hasn't learned a thing, and will probably once again, disregard the people she is supposed to represent.

I doubt that anyone doubts chemical weapons have been used by someone, maybe even Assad, but that isn't the point. The point is, it's not in OUR national interest to go lobbing in cruise missiles, like a kid with a new .22 shooting at a hornet's nest. Obama doesn't have a strategy, or a plan, except to support the Muslim Brotherhood in any way he can, and Di-Fi is too dumb to realize it.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
"And I like to believe now, after 20 years, that I have some skill in separating the wheat from the chaff in this thing, of knowing where we were when Iraq was considered and where we are with this."

Sadly, Ms. Feinstein, whatever it is you may have learned in those 20 yrs, if anything, is completely wrong.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Interesting how much we already know about what happened in Syria and how little we still don't know about Benghazi. The fellas at the CIA must be keyed into Syria . Wonder if it has anything to do with the Russian and Qatari interests that surround Syria? You know, that LNG pipeline the Arabs want to run through the country into Turkey that the Russians despise. Nah - that wouldn't have anything to do with it.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (42)
All Comments   (42)
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This is just perfect. It's I know better then all of you who voted for me. Sadly the drones will vote for this absolute failure again. If this doesn't prove to her electorate she is a fraud there is no hope for them. This is what you get when the electorate is uninformed and only vote one way. I think it's time she retires she is certainly old enough to be gone. Ca. is such a mess they would probably replace her with another elitist. PATHETIC.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
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32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
We may not know what Feinstein knows but we can surmise that it isn't much considering that other Senators and Representatives do know and are voting against striking Syria. She just thinks we're stupid! Pppppfffffftttttt!
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
The problem is Dianne, that the federal government and this administration in particular has used up all of its "trust me" cards. After Libya, Benghazi, Fast and Furious, GSA, IRS, and NSA, no one of sound mind who is not wholly dependent trusts anything from Washington.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
The same Di-Fi that said she was totally dumbfounded that our administration would withhold vital information so that her committee would ok our involvement in Lybia, Benghazi, IRS, NSA and Fast n' Furious???

She is dumber than she looks.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
"But you see, then they don’t know what I know. They haven’t heard what I heard."

Then show us. Let us decide. (still won't change my mind, though. The USA has no abiding national security interests at stake in Syria.)
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Gas? Just blame the dog and be done with it. Just a few years ago Pelosi was French-kissing Assad. Remember? Go ahead and help Al Qaida you bastards, drench your hands and conscience in the blood of the victims of 9-11. Just don't count on dying a natural death because all this baloney is almost sure to start WW3 and you and that pile of garbage that is Washington DC will become a prime target with all of you inside. You've been working to destroy the country for decades. Get it done you self destructive imbeciles!
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
All she and Rogers have to do is post this supposed DVD [or set of them] and let us see for ourselves. Any who do not want to watch do not have-to, and can change the channel, or turn the sucker off.
I am sick-of, tired-out-from and pissed off to the spring-loaded position with Gov't Reps. of any sort 'assuming' Mainstream America is just not as 'smart' or 'insightful' as they are. You could grab one out of a crowd of them and 'disgusting punk' would probably fit, most-amply. [Especially if 'Progressive' was used to describe the ones in question]
This Administration leaks at will, so what is one more leak to them ?
Show us what you've got, or expect snark and derision, in quantities too large to ignore.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Intelligence Committee......." An oxymoron if I ever heard one.

'Cmon DiFi, you can share the "intelligence" info with the American people. We are cleared for ridiculous.

The ONLY representatives who should be allowed to vote on this coming disaster are the ones, if there are any left, who have children in the military.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
"We have to bomb Syria, before we know what's in it." I'm sensing a pattern here amongst the dems (make that "dims").
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
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