Senior administration official:  “This one is a lot easier to figure out”
August 26th, 2013
10:09 PM ET

Senior administration official: “This one is a lot easier to figure out”

By Jim Acosta and Brianna Keilar

A senior administration official stressed U.S. President Barack Obama is on an “abbreviated timeline” for making a decision on whether to launch a military strike against Syria over its suspected use of chemical weapons.

“We see this with some urgency,” the official said.

After U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters that chemical weapon use by the Syrian regime was “undeniable,” the senior administration official said the United States no longer requires confirmation from United Nations weapons inspectors.

“This one is a lot easier to figure out,” the official said. “This is really obvious.”

CNN has learned Obama will be presented with options for military action in the next few days. A senior administration official said many of these options have been available for review by the president for more than a year.

That was roughly when the president drew a red line warning Syria against chemical weapon use.

A senior administration official pushed back on the notion the United States would be seeking to punish Syrian President Bashir al-Assad.

“We don’t do things to punish or embarrass. We would be sending a message of accountability.”

The official reiterated that an intelligence assessment of the August 21 attack on the outskirts of Damascus will be presented publicly by U.S. officials shortly.

The senior administration official said the Obama administration has no desire to see the confirmation of chemical weapon use dragged out by Syria or its allies in Russia.

“What the U.N. can find out, we already know. There’s no reason to haggle over access,” the official said.

The official cautioned the administration is drafting its legal options for a potential strike either through partners or unilaterally. But the official added the president has long sought international cooperation for such actions and would likely do so with Syria.

Consultations with allies and members of Congress are also continuing. Asked about the timeline for a decision, the official cautioned “we’re really not there yet.”

The final decision, the official stressed, remains with the president.

soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. James

    Its not our emergency !!!!–We need to butt out–End of decision–Obama doesn't have a frigg'in clue about what needs to be done–He will listen to his clones I'm sure–

    August 27, 2013 at 5:45 pm | Reply
  2. Gkjgf Ntriut

    The Arab L. said what today... hmmm...

    August 27, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Reply
  3. Working to finance the Middle East military welfare machine

    If the UN condemns the use of chemical weapons in Syria, let a multinational force under UN control take action funded by the UN. It's time for the US to stop trying to be the policemen of the Middle East, and focus on rebuilding our national strength. How would the US react if the Soviets or Chinese attacked Israel? Now how should we expect the Soviets to react if we go pounding on Syria. The US acts like they can attack with impunity, and then the US government wonders why they are the most hated nation in the Middle East. You reap what you sew, and you can't go into another man's house trying to dictate rules without repercussions. The US needs to stay out of this one, pure and simple.

    August 27, 2013 at 12:34 pm | Reply
  4. Tdryjmb Ffthukbj

    a person who has sold their soul can see through others

    August 27, 2013 at 11:35 am | Reply
    • josiferg

      have you done it/ or you are just quoting

      August 27, 2013 at 3:03 pm | Reply
  5. Mark j j

    Obama now is in the same position, President Bush was. Weapons of mass destruction. Will he do the right thing?

    August 27, 2013 at 10:23 am | Reply
  6. Gerald O'Hare

    The U.S. and the UK doesn't need to wait for a UN mandate to attack Syria. Back in 2003, these countries completely disregarded the UN and went ahead with their obscene invasion of Iraq in spite of the simple fact that those WMD's that Bush belly-hood about never existed in the first place! What is ludicrous here is that the U.S. can't even control Iraq these days with all the attacks going on there and now it wants to take over Syria!

    August 27, 2013 at 7:57 am | Reply
    • Pete

      @Gerald,you're comparing apples to oranges..First off Bush,republicans are warmongering fools that advocate,instagate wars for their masters the MIC to make them all wealthy at our expense..Pres.Obama is the chess player here watching who makes steps and why and that's how he took down Osama BinLaden in a well planned assasination that went as planned didn't it with minimum boots on the ground..Pres.Obama doesn't advocate war as ignorents here state or nor he a MIC puppet like McCain that's jumps when the MIC tells him too!!Just remember who got our kids outta one senseless war in Iraq and finishing up another in Afghanistan and also who here in the WH has the brains because it sure ain't republicans and with no new boots or wars on the ground by now you see he's not a friend or puppet of the MIC either!!

      August 27, 2013 at 10:28 am | Reply
      • RPD

        You do know that the contracts for Iraq and Afganistan withdrawl timetables were signed under G. W. Bush right? The fact that it happened after his term doesn't mean it wasn't his signature on the paper. I am not a Bush supporter, but I do support the truth. I do feel that I have to specify that everytime people make horribly uniformed statements about Bush because Bush was a bad president.
        Now what made it funny was that the Congressional GOP lashed out at Obama for following Bush's timeline. Also what made it funny was after Bush signed the timetables and agreements with Iraq/Afgansistan Obama used the timetables as part of his campaign.

        Final observation is that if you think that Obama had next to anything to do with the killing of Osama Bin Laden you need to wake up. It was luck that the CIA got some good old fashion intel that led to the next piece and then the next. Obama happened to be in office at the time and signed a paper to green light the operation. I mean the full force of the International Intelligence Community looking for one guy for about a decade. They are probably going to find him. It just took some time. He just happened to be the guy in office when it finally went down. So give the credit to those who deserve it the men and women in the CIA.

        August 28, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
  7. Huh

    Sounds like another "slam dunk

    August 27, 2013 at 7:09 am | Reply
  8. Clarke

    How much of these chemical weapons do they have, how far can the rockets travel? Can they transport to other countries and use these chemicals? I only ask because I don't know how it works. I find all weapons scary, but you can't run from this.

    August 27, 2013 at 6:48 am | Reply
  9. Loretta Groves

    The one word in Secretary of State Kerry's speech was accountability that made the most sense to me. The author of the seemly forth coming response from the west must be centered around this. Remove Bashar and Maher Assad from the equation. And the rest I would leave alone. The Syrian Army as well as the Free Syrian Army would probably continue hostilities toward each other for a time, but it might make both sides think twice about using banded weapons in their struggles. If the West can accomplish this it would put other persons on notice that the world will not tolerate the use of these weapons.

    August 27, 2013 at 1:25 am | Reply
    • George patton

      Posted like a true, lame brained, Obama loving, warmongering Tea Partier. Thank you, Loretta.

      August 27, 2013 at 8:18 am | Reply
      • Pete

        @George Pansy,come on can't you come up with anything more original than that phunney boy or rag head as I'll call yah..Hey do us all a favor here and make yourself scarce the camels are out and your future wife if looking for you or grazing which ever she's doing!!For your info phunney boy Pres.Obama probibly looks at tea baggers as I do just fleas on the ass of life that's all as you are!!

        August 27, 2013 at 10:35 am |
    • John Geheran

      Gee Linda, if being stupid was some kind of virtue, you'd be a living saint! Even a three year old would know better than that!

      August 27, 2013 at 1:36 pm | Reply
      • John Geheran

        Sorry folks, I meant Loretta, not Linda above. That was a sheer misprint. These stupid Tea Partiers make me sick with their ignorance!

        August 27, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
  10. Pghuh Dhklk

    Who will assad take down when he sells his soul albiet too late...

    August 27, 2013 at 1:01 am | Reply
  11. John Smith

    America is the root of all terror. America has invaded sixty countries since world war 2.
    In 1953 America overthrow Iran's democratic government Mohammad Mosaddegh and installed a brutal dictator Shah. America helped Shah of Iran to establish secret police and killed thousands of Iranian people.
    During Iran-Iraq war evil America supported Suddam Hossain and killed millions of Iranian people. In 1989, America, is the only country ever, shot down Iran's civilian air plane, killing 290 people.
    In 2003,America invaded Iraq and killed 1,000,000+ innocent Iraqi people and 4,000,000+ Iraqi people were displaced.
    Now America is a failed state with huge debt. Its debt will be 22 trillion by 2015.

    August 26, 2013 at 11:10 pm | Reply
    • Palle sol Fuoco

      If and when we go others will go with us.

      August 27, 2013 at 1:39 am | Reply
    • civilian flights

      America may be the only country to ever shoot down an Iranian civilian aircraft but the are not the only ones to shoot down a civilian aircraft. Russia shot down a Korean air lines flight in 1979, killing two of the 109 on board and then shot down another Korean Flight in 1983 killing everyone on board. Both were shot down by a fighter close enough to idintify it as a civilian aircraft.

      August 27, 2013 at 6:53 am | Reply
      • George patton

        This whole thing reeks of another C.I.A. put up job, civilian flights. For all we know, these Korean pilots could well have been on the C.I.A. payroll! One no longer has to be a rocket scientist to know better than to put anything past the C.I.A.!!!

        August 27, 2013 at 8:16 am |

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