Carney: Unlikely that Syrian opposition used chemical weapons

The White House is highly skeptical of any suggestions that the opposition to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons, according to a press briefing on Monday.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney responded to questions on Monday about a recent television interview given to the Italian press by a member of the U.N. commission looking into whether or not chemical weapons were used in Syria. The commission member reportedly suggested that chemical weapons could have been used by the Syrian opposition.

Carney said the independent commission later put out a statement to clarify its position.

"The commission itself -- the independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic has put out a statement clarifying that the commission has not reached any conclusive findings regarding the use of chemical weapons in Syria or who used them if they were used," Carney said. "The fact of the matter is, as we have said and I have said many times, we are highly skeptical of suggestions that the opposition could have or did use chemical weapons. We find it highly likely that any chemical weapon use that has taken place in Syria was done by the Assad regime, and that remains our position."

Over the weekend, Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) said that when Israel recently attacked Syria, the nation saw a red line and acted, unlike U.S. President Barack Obama. McCain went on to say that the President avoided involvement in Syria to the shame and disgrace of the U.S. Carney said the White House strongly disagreed with McCain's comments.

"The fact of the matter is jumping to conclusions and acting before you have all the facts is not a good recipe for weighty policy decision-making," Carney said. "We have seen in the not-too-recent -- not-too-distant past the consequences of acting before we had all the facts. And that's why this President insists that we get all the facts."