By Mick Krever, CNN
On Tuesday, the head of Israel’s military intelligence, Brigadier General Itai Brun, said that Syria has used chemical weapons against rebels in that country – Obama has repeatedly said that would be his “red line” for American involvement.
“He did not give us a sense of what direct evidence they had,” said New York Times Chief Washington Correspondent David Sanger, who attended General Brun’s briefing. Sanger spoke with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour from Jerusalem.
The only thing that the general presented, Sanger said, was photographs of people Brun described as frothing at the mouth, a symptom associated with the use of sarin gas.
“That is not the same as having the actual samples” to prove the use of chemical weapons, Sanger said.
“I don’t have an understanding of how the material was gathered,” he added. “In other words, was it Israeli agents, was it Americans, was it outsiders? We do know from some of our other reporting that the CIA had been involved in attempting to obtain some samples, but we don’t know whether or not they've been successful at that.”
Meanwhile, as the political establishment in the America and around the world waits for a conclusive answer, another question is raised: Will Obama stay true to his pledge to intervene if the answer is ‘yes’?
The U.S. and its allies have “extensive” contingency plans for securing Syria’s chemical weapons, Sanger said. But he cautioned that getting rid of the weapons may be harder than most realize.
“In an odd way,” he said, “it’s a lot easier to go in and get rid of nuclear weapons. Once you collect them up and render them safe, you can put them on an airplane and fly them out. In the case of chemical weapons” – which are prone to leaking – “you run the risk of causing exactly the disaster you were trying to prevent.”