Intel Committee Ranking Member Schiff Statement on Administration Warning on Chemical Weapons in Syria
“The prospect of another chemical weapons attack by the Syrian regime against its own people should alarm the entire international community. Although I have been briefed on the matter, I am not in a position to evaluate the strength of the evidence that Syria is preparing another attack. If a chemical weapons attack can be prevented by the issuance of the statement last night by the Administration, that could help avoid another potentially dangerous escalation of the conflict and our role in it. That the Administration would find it necessary to issue such a statement and that its prior missile strike on regime targets was not a sufficient deterrent is deeply concerning.
“These statements and actions also come at a time when the Administration has yet to formulate its strategy for Syria, long promised but as yet undelivered. Any response to Assad's use of chemical weapons should be part of a broader strategy, rather than an ad hoc matter.
“Finally, the case for taking unilateral action against the regime in the absence of Congressional authorization was weak the first time; it would be on even shakier constitutional ground now, given that the Administration has advance notice of Syrian intentions and can seek Congressional support for retaliation against the regime that it has threatened will be ‘a heavy price.’”