September 13th, 2013
04:10 PM ET

US intel at odds over location of Syria chemical weapons

By Barbara Starr

American intelligence analysts are at odds over what the United States knows about the location of Syria's chemical weapons, CNN has learned.

Disagreement within the intelligence community surfaced over the past few weeks as spy agencies observed Syria - fearing a possible U.S. military strike - moving a significant amount of chemical weaponry, according to two U.S. officials familiar with internal discussions.

The lack of consensus raises concerns about accountability should the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad proceed with its stated intention of turning over chemical stockpiles to international control and creates potential targeting problems should the United States opt for military action, CNN has learned.

At one end of the spectrum, some analysts believe the United States might not be able to verify the location of up to 50 percent of Syria's chemical weapons, the officials said. At the other end, some agencies conclude the United States knows where most of them are stored, both officials said.

The officials declined to be identified because of the sensitive nature of the information.

Both work in different parts of national security agencies, but outlined the same scenario of widely varying views of intelligence analysts.

Neither would specify precisely which agencies disagree. But until the latest crisis, several administration officials had told journalists - without full attribution - the United States knew the location of most stockpiles.

Separately on Friday, a third senior U.S. official said "our confidence in being able to track the chemical weapons is going down" because of recent movements.

He said the only solution is "we have to work on the intelligence."

CNN and other news organizations have reported over the past year that chemical stockpiles had regularly been moved by the regime for security purposes when rebel fighting grew close to storage areas, and that the United States was able to track them using satellites, intercepts and human based intelligence.

One official said the current disagreement about intelligence "shouldn't be a surprise."

He noted an agency like the National Security Agency "is going to listen to intercepts and see it through that lens; the (Defense Intelligence Agency) is going to look at military information and see it through that lens. The CIA likes to think it's looking at the problem holistically."

Intelligence analysis is open to interpretation and opposing views are not uncommon.

In one notable instance, the intelligence community had a range of certainty about whether a compound discovered in Pakistan was indeed Osama bin Laden's hideaway, because they were relying on interpretation of clues but had no photo or sighting of the al Qaeda leader.

Navy SEALs raided the building and killed bin Laden in May 2011.

It will be up to James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, to present President Barack Obama with an overall assessment.

Clapper's office did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment.

Analysts often face the dilemma of verifying information through more than one source.

"The majority, if not all of it, is in area controlled by the Assad forces," Secretary of State John Kerry told the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday. "We're going to have to be able to know that it can all be accounted for."

U.S. uncertainty about the location of the weapons began to emerge about two weeks ago.

"Most of the movement was when it looked like a military strike might be imminent," one of the officials said. "We saw significant movement at some sites."

He described this as being within the "12 to 20" major sites the United States watches closely.

Since that time, "everything is locked down," the official said. But he added, "we have less confidence we know where everything is and what might have been moved."

It's not entirely clear what the specific motivation was for moving the weapons at that time, the official said. One theory - the regime may have feared rebels could gain access to them.

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  14. Skorpio

    Weapons are NOT the problem, it is the satanic Islamic mentality. It is more effective to send Muslims an army of Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons and Hare Krishna to try to domesticate these animals.

    September 17, 2013 at 1:04 pm | Reply
  15. 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.

    September 17, 2013 at 3:39 am | Reply
  16. California Conservative

    Trouble with Intel. Bush had the same problem. Is it possible this could end up like it did with Bush?

    OF COURSE NOT, right?

    September 15, 2013 at 10:19 pm | Reply
  17. Gathungu

    We in Africa are utterly shocked at the loss of balls and brains by America to Russia. In Kenya where his father comes from, Obama is deeply hated by half the country for leading the charges at the Hague of Kenyan leaders through NAIROBI'S US EMBASSY. Reason: to topple a democratically elected president and install his cousin Raila Odinga. odinga was the main mastermind of Kenya's post election violence. At worst, Assad might only turn in just a couple of old test tubes and a few torn research files!

    September 15, 2013 at 5:17 am | Reply
  18. curious2

    Don't forget what the president said "Don'T need any authorization to command a strike".....he is showing the world what a democratic process is......and how it is done......cut him some slack......after all is said and done.....he represent Americans......

    September 14, 2013 at 7:14 pm | Reply
    • Max

      In this case he had to ask for Congress vote before setting any red line, this is not democracy my friend this is backing off, it's very simple Obama bluffed and Asad called his bluff and Obama lost. No excuse please, next time vote for real man for president.

      September 14, 2013 at 8:19 pm | Reply
    • StanCalif

      Yes, GWB represented America as well! GWB was and is an idiot. Today he stays very quiet, he has no logical thoughts! GWB gave us a war with no end in Iraq. Why? Even he can't or won't explain. Basically, his cowboy sidekick, Dick Cheney, salivated over getting Iraq's oil! Did Dick get any oil? NO, not one gallon! Our troops who died to free Iraq only died to see China get the oil! How many Chinese troops died in Iraq???? ZERO, NONE!!!

      September 14, 2013 at 10:07 pm | Reply
      • U.S.M.C. 1371

        Not one comment about GWB then your rant. The empty can does rattle the most.

        September 14, 2013 at 11:54 pm |
    • LL

      At this point he has rewritten America to his liking behind our backs. He was elected by groups who thought they would own America and shove the whites out.

      September 15, 2013 at 9:49 am | Reply
  19. Masuka

    Both sides are bad in Syria: Hezbollah Muslims vs. Al Qaeda Muslims. Both deserve to be bombed.

    September 14, 2013 at 5:52 pm | Reply
  20. cdeedc

    hmm. so what are the EXACT coordinates of where the bombs are going Mr Kerry???/

    September 14, 2013 at 11:08 am | Reply
    • denverboy

      Well first off they would not bomb the Chemical weapons ..That might disperse them into the Atmophere and cause the very thing we are trying to that set of cordinates are off the table..If we ever did bomb Syria's Army...We would take out there ability to deliver the weapons ..there missles systems there planes there Airports...stuff like that dont bomb Chemical sites like you dont bomb Working Nuke reactors either...It creates a much larger problem......Dont you listen read or Watch the News ??

      September 14, 2013 at 1:15 pm | Reply
      • joxertheboxer

        If we bomb anything who's gonna stop assad from just unleashing all his WMD

        September 15, 2013 at 10:59 am |
  21. Max

    Hey everybody I have a business idea, how about making a vacuum cleaner and name it Obama, and commercial would say ""nothing suck more than Obama ""

    September 14, 2013 at 10:52 am | Reply
    • denverboy

      Except a all Saudi made G.W.Bush

      September 14, 2013 at 1:17 pm | Reply
      • Max

        Bush was man enough to fulfill his promise ,, Al-Asad would not dare to pass Bush red line, there is a simple equation :
        Obama = (Bush – two balls)

        September 14, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
  22. Max

    Baram Hossein Obama, the weakest president USA ever had,

    September 14, 2013 at 10:46 am | Reply
    • BIG SHIZ

      Your a racist idoit

      September 14, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Reply
      • Max

        Does The fact that Obama is weakest president make me racist ??!!???

        September 14, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
      • LL

        When you have to cry racist, it means you are one.

        September 15, 2013 at 9:50 am |
    • denverboy

      Hey Max thats ..Hussain ...Read comperhend..Understand ..Stop wayching FOX Mein Fampf.....

      September 14, 2013 at 1:59 pm | Reply
      • Max

        You know the spelling , I can guess where you are coming from

        September 14, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
  23. Tigas

    With the US's ability to spy on allies like England, Germany, Brazil, etc., we don't have the ability to properly spy on real threats?!
    Guess the Obama Regine is more interested in spying on US citizens.
    Obama = Ldgendary FAIL!!!

    September 14, 2013 at 9:06 am | Reply
  24. Julian Assange

    America's COMPREHENSIVE INCOMPETENCE muscular ARROGANCE is turning America into a SOLID FIASCO before the entire WORLD!

    September 14, 2013 at 8:35 am | Reply
  25. Menandmeonly


    September 14, 2013 at 7:11 am | Reply
  26. Rod C. Venger

    There's no WMD's in Syria! They've all been returned to iraq.

    September 14, 2013 at 2:20 am | Reply
  27. Palle sol Fuoco

    Doubtful Russia will go to war over Syria. All this talk of giving up chemicals weapons is just buying Assad time to hide them.

    September 14, 2013 at 1:23 am | Reply
  28. Jay Hughes

    QUOTE: '... on Friday, a third senior U.S. official said "our confidence in being able to track the chemical weapons is going down" because of recent movements.'

    Sounds like Iraq and WMD all over again. And look how much that has cost since then.

    And the statement: 'It will be up to James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, to present President Barack Obama with an overall assessment' doesn't increase my confidence, especially since he 'wittingly' lied to Congress – on TV, yet!

    September 14, 2013 at 12:33 am | Reply
  29. Trish Hall

    US itself has a lot of Chemical arms which are to be disposed. Their process started in the 80's and is still going on. It should first destroy all its before asking other nations.

    September 13, 2013 at 11:25 pm | Reply
    • rwdragon86

      Check your data. The U.S. has almost completed destroying it's old stockpiles. As a matter of fact it has closed the Anniston Depot that was tasked with incinerating the chemicals after the last shells were destroyed. BTW the stuff that the U.S. had was so outdated that it was doubtful that it was even very viable if used.

      September 14, 2013 at 12:04 am | Reply
      • Menandmeonly

        And you trust that "data"?

        September 14, 2013 at 7:10 am |
    • Cactus Jack

      Amazing what you don't know isn't it miss know it all?

      September 14, 2013 at 1:12 am | Reply
  30. Joaquin

    Well, America you are going to have to learn to collaborate with other countries since this whole disarmament thing is not really just your project to rule over. If the President of Syria will follow the protocols in chemical disarmament it will be up to many NATO parties to take the inventory and follow all the steps.

    September 13, 2013 at 10:43 pm | Reply
    • 1nd3p3nd3nt think we LIKE having to travel halfway around the world at cost to stop people from gassing each other ?

      how about if ANY OTHER countries step up and start helping, that would be greatly appreciated

      September 13, 2013 at 10:55 pm | Reply

        The rest of NATO is very willing to let the USA do the heavy lifting.

        September 14, 2013 at 12:57 am |
      • StanCalif

        While we, the USA, have been busy trying to "reform" the Middle East, Putin has been busy "reforming" Europe! Today, European economies rely on gas from Russia. This gas is sold, not by private corporations in Russia but by Gasprom which is solely owned and controlled by the Russian government! Putin controls who gets gas and who doesn't. He has no qualms with shutting off gas to anyone who irritates him! So don't count on any support from Europe!
        Syria is NOT our problem! All these Middle East countries are involved in conflicts to kill each other. The USA needs to stand down and just allow the carnage to continue to some conclusion. When they are done, then we can deal with these countries diplomatically. Why waste our time and resources now? These people are going to keep on killing each other regardless of any action we may take! Iraq is a good example!
        Any military response the US may take will only make matters worse. The pledge of "No boots on the ground" is absurd! Bombing changes nothing!

        September 14, 2013 at 9:29 am |
    • Palle sol Fuoco


      September 14, 2013 at 1:24 am | Reply
  31. Random

    RE: Russia wont allow a un resolution to threaten force. . .

    Really I dont think putin has the leverage to write off a crime against humanity IF they don't keep up their end of the bargain. Really this is the compromise. We have 100% cooperation from syria, and you to achieve 100% destruction of the stockpile. The weapons were used. Which ever side fired it assad did not uphold his obligations to either not use them on his own people or to retain control of them. Either way the chemicals are the problem. If they don't want to give them up the world , the un, will be forced to act. Then this whole thing of accountability comes back into play too. That will result in the loss of russias buffer nation. Long term that is no better for us than for russians. if they are serious they will not be looking to corner the UN into non action should they not be serious. IF they are serious it is a non-issue. What russia should be doing is narrowing the results to UN action against the chemicals based on the soon to be common knowledge both sides are committing atrocities. But the bottom line is Syria used the weapons. The consequence is they give up the weapons. Via diplomacy or otherwise. We prefer diplomacy. Strong language shouldnt scare you putin. Not if you are serious, and if you are not you just started wwIII with this game.

    September 13, 2013 at 10:09 pm | Reply
    • Random

      You are a smart guy putin, you have to realize this is going to spiral out of control if your plan falls thru. Your personal credibility will be shot, as will russia's.
      I'm pretty confident you will respond to a strike, and im confident we will respond to this deal breaking down. You making stipulations like this makes me think mccain needs more camera time. The politicians do what we tell them to , and you saying warning a strike will result in not following through makes me think you plan on not actually doing this. It makes me think it is a big waste of time.
      I think you know as well as I do we could prove it if we saw no other option. It seems like if that happens your interest lose. It also means another war. Chances are both our enemies get CW. This is the only option that is mutually beneficial. This is a good compromise. Even with the warning of consequences if you dont follow thru.

      September 13, 2013 at 10:28 pm | Reply
      • Cactus Jack

        One thing we can count on is that if we strike Russia will strike. I don't know if they will strike us directly or if it will be the Saudi's but they will pay us back in spades. Putin knows we are a paper tiger and is not afraid of retaliation from us. They may do no more initially than to sink one of our ships laying off Syria. What do you think Obama will do then, fish or cut bait?

        September 14, 2013 at 1:18 am |
  32. Dave

    Does it matter if they get them all or only if they can make it seem like they did for awhile? The primary mission here is an escape route for Obama.

    September 13, 2013 at 9:56 pm | Reply
  33. Chris

    Those WMD's are traveling more than Obama going on vacation. Iraq sent them to Syria and not Syria is returning them to Iraq.

    September 13, 2013 at 9:50 pm | Reply
  34. Bert974

    There is no problem with accountability. You can blame everything on the nutcase in the White Building.
    The Psychopathic Goons in the White Building should be locked up as well. More rapes of men than women.
    No "gay" rights for Amerikans. They simply don't deserve it. Especially the military.

    September 13, 2013 at 9:45 pm | Reply
    • Bert974

      Psychopathic Goons in the military.

      September 13, 2013 at 9:46 pm | Reply
  35. Bert974

    After the CIA identifies all 50 NG storage sites, the Navy Deathsquad commandoes will attack and kill all the people at each site. Then the vulgar sadistic monsters can begin turning Syria into another Libya and create that video of the off-screen degenerate who tortures the President of Syria to death. How's that for freedom and democracy?

    September 13, 2013 at 9:40 pm | Reply
  36. Richard

    Syria's navy has 22 missile attack craft. The U.S. needs to eliminate them if conflict breaks out or it risks its ships in the Gulf.

    September 13, 2013 at 9:40 pm | Reply
  37. Louis JB

    In this everending hide and seek game, 3 individuals are winning and 2 nations are loosing. Putin is winning because he is the one making the rules, Al Asad is wining because while he is not considered the legitimate ruler of Syria by tge west, he is negociating with the UN, Obama is winning because he is viewed as the us president who would not engage to war. However, the United States of America is loosing big time because the autorities seem to be in total confusion when it comes to decision making, sending mixed signals to the rest of the world, saying one thing here,another there, drawing lines and making promisses that they will not keep while the syrian people are being killed by the thousands by both parties in this civil war, right in front of the very eyes of the most powerfull nation on earth.

    September 13, 2013 at 9:31 pm | Reply
  38. boungiorno

    their hidden in PLAIN SIGHT

    September 13, 2013 at 9:13 pm | Reply
  39. Jackolous le'faeir

    With the same intel as the last war...

    September 13, 2013 at 8:44 pm | Reply
  40. brotherjukebox2012

    Oh C'mon on people, Iraq had chemical weapons too. They used them on their own people and killed thousands. when America started sending troops to Saudi Arabia, they moved them to Syria. Now Syria will move them to Lebanon where they will be used on Israel. It's a never ending game.

    September 13, 2013 at 8:29 pm | Reply
  41. caesarbc

    The US has a thousand satellites in orbit, and just last month launched a new "spy satellite". If they do not know where the chemical weapons are, intelligence does. It depends on whether they want the American public to know. After all, this is a propaganda campaign and the battlefield is the American public perpetuated through TV and Internet.

    September 13, 2013 at 8:11 pm | Reply
  42. Robert

    Of course they know where they are...

    They are to the north, east, south, and west of Tikrit. Duh.

    September 13, 2013 at 8:09 pm | Reply
  43. GotOut

    Does the U.S. know where their own chemical weapons are?

    September 13, 2013 at 7:44 pm | Reply
  44. paul

    hell no. we are still looking for wmd.

    September 13, 2013 at 7:31 pm | Reply
  45. Sabour

    Does US know where the weapons are? Yes we do .. they are already transported to Iran and Lebanon.....How on the earth can we send our specialists to those hostile environments .. even as UN inspectors were collecting evidence of teh Chemical attack they came under sniper fire on regular basis

    September 13, 2013 at 7:04 pm | Reply
  46. joe

    The U.S. knows EXACTLY where the chemical weapons are stored and stockpiled in Syria. we are the one have sold them!!!!!

    September 13, 2013 at 7:01 pm | Reply
  47. Name*neel

    que sera sera whatever will be will be

    September 13, 2013 at 6:59 pm | Reply
  48. Max

    Q: does USA knows the location of chimical weapons in Syria.

    A: under Obama administration they even don't know the location of their own weapons.

    September 13, 2013 at 6:59 pm | Reply
    • Name*neel

      seek and you shall find

      September 13, 2013 at 7:01 pm | Reply
  49. GI Jo

    Bomb them. Russia gets in the way...bomb them off the map.

    September 13, 2013 at 6:53 pm | Reply
    • Name*neel

      those who live by the bomb shall die of it

      September 13, 2013 at 7:05 pm | Reply
    • U.S.M.C. 1371

      Spoken like a true retard

      September 14, 2013 at 5:08 am | Reply
  50. Joe B

    Yeah, right. As if we're going to confirm our intel to the news media, the biggest security risk in the world.

    Sure, the CW......>((X))

    We, the US, have a huge credibility problem. It's called Iraq.

    September 13, 2013 at 6:20 pm | Reply
    • Scott Hanson

      The Intel folks will not give out to the media where the weapons are located. I'd be suprised if they gave the media anything. Disinformation. Syria needs to disarm their chemical weapons quickly. Time is running out.

      September 13, 2013 at 11:04 pm | Reply
    • Mizlplix

      And Korea, and Viet Nam, and Panama, and Dominican Republic, And hunt for the Mayaguez.

      And I missed some in between. All bungled and were run by politicians.

      It started when Truman recalled, over rode and fired Mac Arthur.

      Listen to your senior military officers. They are the experts on the subject, and quit making policemen out of soldiers.

      September 14, 2013 at 9:21 am | Reply
  51. ORChuck

    I wonder how many "Presidential Sites" Pres. al-Assad will arbitrarily and unilaterally declare off-limits to inspections?

    September 13, 2013 at 6:07 pm | Reply
  52. obotma

    did the leaderless US sell syria these weapons?

    September 13, 2013 at 6:06 pm | Reply
  53. Koe

    Iraq part II

    September 13, 2013 at 6:03 pm | Reply
    • ORChuck

      It certainly has that smell to it, doesn't it?

      September 13, 2013 at 6:08 pm | Reply
  54. markiejoe

    The U.N. report supposedly will be released in the next couple days, and word has it that it will confirm absolutely that chemical weapons (sarin) was used on those people in Syria.

    The question remaining is whether the U.N. report will be able to confirm ABSOLUTELY who initiated the chemical attack and from where.

    September 13, 2013 at 5:27 pm | Reply
    • Leftcoastrocky

      absolutely? I doubt it. Aren't many things in the world which can be confirmed "absolutely" and especially in the Middle East. i would be satisfied with a very strong likelihood or something similar.

      September 13, 2013 at 5:48 pm | Reply
      • Oracle

        Considering the CIA was pretty sure about the WMDs in Iraq ... I wouldn't expect the CIA to know where the WMDs are in Syria either.

        September 13, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
    • ORChuck

      The UN Report will not even address that question. That question is outside of the scope of the UN investigation.

      September 13, 2013 at 6:09 pm | Reply
      • lerianis

        No, it isn't. Not with the U.N. thinking of a Section 7 resolution against Syria.

        September 13, 2013 at 11:03 pm |
  55. markiejoe

    The U.S. knows EXACTLY where the chemical weapons are stored and stockpiled in Syria. Have for a couple years at least. They've even been moved more than once.

    September 13, 2013 at 5:25 pm | Reply
    • gregorymunson

      Didn't read the whole thing did you? They knew then there was a large amount of activity of movement. You can thank Obama for using the Media to let Assad know he wants to bomb him.

      September 13, 2013 at 6:02 pm | Reply
  56. MaryM

    The U.S. has spy Satellites. The U.S. knows exactly who and from where the CWs were launched. Of course the U.S. will not talk about the spy Satellites.

    September 13, 2013 at 5:21 pm | Reply
    • ORChuck

      Two things are true about photo-reconnaissance satellites: First, they are in non-geostationary orbits. They go around the earth. This makes them infinitely more useful. It also means that any given site is not under 24/7/365 surveillance. And, second, their orbits are predictable. It's quite possible to know when the satellites will be overhead of any given site. Therefore, activities such as moving materials can be easily concealed by just doing them at the right time.

      September 13, 2013 at 6:14 pm | Reply


        That is why the US forces under Bush could not find WMD;s in Iraq. And they looked hard for years.

        The WMD's had either been trucked to Syria, buried deeply or stolen and reburied. Lol, "X" does not mark the spot.

        Israel told the US that fact "BEFORE" the war started, but that "intel" was buried to pursue Bush's agenda.


        September 13, 2013 at 8:24 pm |

      That is not true.

      The US and the Russians do not know how much the Syrians have exactly either. The US and the Russians will never know if the Syrians do in fact had it all over.

      Some has been trucked back to safe areas in Iraq, were the WMD's originated under Saddam.

      Some "may" have been used by both sides. By the rebel's seeking US aid. A classic con job.

      Google this article:

      Contrary evidence arises as U.S. considers punishing Assad regime

      Published: 08/26/2013 at 9:33 PM – JEROME R. CORSI

      Rebel attack?

      With the assistance of former PLO member and native Arabic-speaker Walid Shoebat, WND has assembled evidence from various Middle Eastern sources that cast doubt on Obama administration claims the Assad government is responsible for last week’s attack.

      A video posted on YouTube, (embedded in article), shows Free Syrian Army, or FSA, rebel forces launching a Sarin gas attack on a Syrian village.

      September 13, 2013 at 8:15 pm | Reply
  57. John

    They will be able to recognize them when they find them. They will say Made In USA on the canister.

    September 13, 2013 at 5:09 pm | Reply
  58. Random

    All you have to do to justify intervention is prove one single canister of the stuff changed hands from assad. The focus should be more on proving a single non compliance than trying to continually prove compliance. Our stiff threats to strike stockpiles directly may have caused the movement. One case of non compliance will not be hard to prove. That really is the burden needed at this point.

    September 13, 2013 at 5:01 pm | Reply
    • Portland tony

      In reality, no nation wants to get involved in their civil war, compliance or not. No one really cares as long as there is the semblance of order in the region. What happens if Assad falls? We'd have another revolution between the moderates and the more strict Jihadists with Chemical weapons being used by both sides. Nobody is gonna win!

      September 13, 2013 at 5:17 pm | Reply
      • Random

        Right, our politicians grapple with how to 'enforce' it. Everyone wins if the stockpiles just get destroyed. Trying to follow every single jug is not realistic. But all you need to crash the house of cards is one case of assad not controlling them . Really this is the worst case you mention. So for our guys to feel confident rather than trying to account for all of it all the time... focus on potential exchanges. If they prove it is going to iraq, things will have to change rather quickly.

        September 13, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
  59. me

    Just bomb it all, we are bound to hit it..

    September 13, 2013 at 5:01 pm | Reply
  60. Abbey

    Not according to John Kerry it isn't. This is why for years I've been saying you don't allow a liberal politician to their hands on authority.

    September 13, 2013 at 5:00 pm | Reply
    • JConrs

      All of this....thanks to the "two U.S. officials familiar with internal discussions.."

      Such brilliant insight into U.S. intel, CNN. Thank you.

      September 13, 2013 at 5:35 pm | Reply
  61. Portland tony

    If they knew exactly where they were, we wouldn't need an "intelligence" service. Assad isn't going to unilaterally disarm without some guarantees. Without Chemical weapons he'd be no better than a major power without nukes.

    September 13, 2013 at 4:52 pm | Reply
    • lerianis

      Exactly. Assad is not going to give up his chemical weapons without some very strong assurances that Russia would step in if the United States tried to do an Iraq and take him out of power.

      September 13, 2013 at 11:13 pm | Reply

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