Carney: Syrian chemical weapon facts must be corroborated, reviewed and assessed
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney made the statement as part of his daily press briefing on Wednesday in Washington. Carney responded to questions related to British and French reports about new evidence and new cases of chemical weapon use in Syria. When asked if President Barack Obama is entertaining the possibility that the U.S. will never know if the red line was crossed, Carney said the President must be sure of the facts.
"We are working with our allies and partners, obviously including the English -- the British and the French, on this issue and, importantly, the opposition on this issue, on the effort to gather evidence about the potential use of chemical weapons, or to build on the evidence that we have already gathered," Carney said. "And I think as you heard the President say and others say, it is very important that we be very sure and clear about the facts that we have and that those facts are corroborated and they are reviewable, and that if the case is to be made for a policy response that we ought to be able to make a very strong case."
Carney alluded to past U.S. failures to ensure that all facts were straight before making policy decisions.
"And at the time that we were discussing this, it was noted that there is some history of -- that I think demonstrates the need to be absolutely sure of your facts and absolutely sure that you have the ability to put together a series of facts that can be corroborated and reviewed and assessed if you're going to contemplate a policy response to crossing the red line," Carney said.
Carney also said the U.S. is continuing to press the Assad regime to let the U.N. investigative team into the country to gather evidence of chemical weapon use.