Transcript: Remarks by Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger on the classified intelligence briefing on Syria’s use of chemical weapons

Partial transcript of remarks by Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee, on the classified intelligence briefing on Syria’s alleged use of chemical weapons. The press briefing was held on April 25, 2013:

Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.):
First thing, this is to bring all of our members together to give them information in a classified setting. We feel that there has been some chemical weapons that have been used but we’re still investigating who did it, where it’s coming from, and right now we’re just in an evaluation stage. One of the important issues is that we do bring together the other countries. We need to work together as a team – like we did in Libya. We brought the Arab League involved. There was NATO involved. It’s the same situation here.

I would say though that I think it’s very important for us to continue to talk to Russia because I think Russia could make a difference in helping to resolve this serious, terrible situation where people are being killed everyday.

Question:
Do you think a red line has been crossed?

Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.):
I think that at this I think I can only we have to keep evaluating where we are, and it’s very serious situation but it’s not just about our country being involved, it’s getting all the countries involved attempting to resolve the issue. It’s serious, and you also have issues involving immigration in different countries. You have Turkey and you have Jordan involved, and this is a serious situation involving a lot of people in tents and without food and there’s violence that goes on. So there’s a lot of issues involved here.

Question:
What are the challenges with Syria in terms of the – if we were to engage with them – what kind of –

Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.):
I don’t think we just as the United States want to go into another war. I think it’s a very serious situation with people being killed, and it’s just what happen by the way after Assad leaves – that’s another thing that we have to look at and all the countries that surround that Syria. You’ve got Israel. You’ve got Turkey. You’ve got Jordan. It’s still a moving issue that we’re working with other countries. But as I said before, I think hopefully that Russia understands how serious this is not only with Assad still in power but what happens when he eventually leaves, which he will.

Question:
What about a no-fly zone or arming the opposition?

Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.):
There are options on the the table here. Every option is on the table as far as Syria’s concerned. One of the most important issues – I know there’s close to 100,000 people that have been killed and it doesn’t seem to stop and it seems that the balance of power goes back and forth. It seems that the opposition gets stronger and then the next thing you know it goes back to Assad, to the government. And we’re very much concerned too about people from other countries – we’re concerned about Al Qaeda influence and we’re very concerned about when things to – when he does leave and his government falls, you know, where those chemical weapons are going to be. Are they going to get into the hands of the bad guys, especially the different groups – terrorist groups…including Hezbollah?

Question:
If he falls, would it take a ground force to stabilize the country?

Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.):
I can’t get into that strategy and I would think that at this time with all the other issues that we have that we want to do everything we can to avoid putting boots on the ground. We have unique resources that no other country have and then we can work with the other countries as a team to try to do what we need to do as it relates especially to chemical weapons.

But I will say when this issue about chemical weapons came up maybe a month ago, I think Russia did step up and I think that they had some influence over Assad and his government.

Question:
How confident are you on the intelligence?

Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.):
How confident am I? I can only get briefed and evaluated and have our staff look at it. But I think at this time we feel that chemical weapons were used but in a very small way.

Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.):
Russia is a key player. I think they’re a game changer as far as resolving the issue and moving on with a post-Assad government.

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One Comment on “Transcript: Remarks by Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger on the classified intelligence briefing on Syria’s use of chemical weapons

  1. Pingback: Obama holds back on taking actions against Syria for alleged use of chemical weapons | What The Folly?!

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