Lee: President’s Syria proposal raises security questions

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Thursday, Sen. Mike Lee said Obama’s announcement to expand support to Syrian rebels raises serious security questions regarding the composition of Syrian opposition forces and the ability of the United States to ensure that terrorist groups do not have access to U.S. assistance.

Last week, the Senate Armed Services Committee passed its annual authorization bill for the Department of Defense, which included a provision that would authorize the Secretary of Defense to provide a broad range of assistance, including lethal aid, to opposition forces in Syria.

“The situation in Syria is desperate and we should be constantly assessing it for threats to U.S. security, but I am concerned that sending American weapons and training into this crisis could be like pouring gas on a fire,” Lee said. “When senior members of the president’s national security team cannot guarantee that assistance won’t fall into the hands of our enemies, or that the people we train today won’t be fighting alongside al-Qaeda tomorrow, we should be very careful in considering approaches that could assist extremists in that conflict.”

Following the March 6 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on U.S. Central Command, CENTCOM Commander General Lloyd Austin stated in an answer for the record:

No, we cannot guarantee the assistance we provide doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.  Undoubtedly, some weapons and funds flowing into Syria wind up in the hands of extremists such as Al Nusrah Front or the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant.

On Feb. 11, during an Armed Services Committee hearing regarding the relationship of moderate opposition and extremist groups in Syria, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told Sen. Lee:

“Well, they are an agreement of convenience, I would say.  Oftentimes, these groups will apparently – which are quite fluid, by the way – may disagree ideologically, but will, if it’s convenient for them in a tactical context, agree to work together.”

The bill, the National Defense Authorization Act, was reported out of committee by a vote of 25-1, with Sen. Lee as the only “NO” vote due to the Syrian provision, as well as other concerns.

Submitted by the office of Sen. Mike Lee

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6 Comments

  • Bruce Ogden May 30, 2014 at 6:03 am

    Obama ran guns, powerful killing hardware, from the U.S. to the Mexican drug cartel terrorists leading to the death of at least one American border guard that we know about, and likely, also to the deaths of thousands of Mexican civilians. This episode of Obama gun running was Fast & Furious and a Fabulous Failure.

    Then Obama/Clinton armed our “friends” the Libyan islamic jihadist terrorist al Qaeda opposition fighters, directly leading to the 9/11 Benghazi massacre by these same terrorists, that killed 4 Americans.

    Since the Libyan operation went so well, why not run arms to the Islamic jihadist al Qaeda terrorist opposition fighting Syrian government forces? Somehow arming terrorists is a good thing where, once they have their weapons, they will turn them on Americans.

    Obama/Clinton/Kerry must have started believing their own press releases; Doing the same thing, over and over, and expecting a different result, is the hallmark of not enough brain cells firing. In thinking about the Obama/Clinton/Kerry approach to foreign policy, some call this “leading from behind”; but it seems to me they’ve wholeheartedly internalized the immortal words of Alfred E. Newman: “What Me Worry?”

    • Chris May 30, 2014 at 12:38 pm

      You are misinformed. No U.S. arms were shipped to Libyan rebels. Arms were shipped by Qatar, among others, to the rebels with tacit approval from the American administration. No American government money was involved. No evidence has surfaced that traces any of these weapons to the attack on the consulate in Benghazi. I hope you practice medicine with better attention to detail than you do in your observations on international affairs.

    • zzzz May 30, 2014 at 5:48 pm

      You sound like a retard. Maybe you want it done the Bush Jr way and another Iraq war type disaster. Ya the Obama policy aint great but you want another zillion dollar decade long war??? pfffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff try using ur head buddy. And 4 guys can hardly be considered a disastrous death toll… those men knew the risks and accepted them…

      • THAT GUY May 31, 2014 at 12:31 am

        I can’t believe your lack of intelligence using the R word it is slap in the face to all mentality challenged individual’s. When someone is stupid just say it.And quit using that word. Grow up your not in kindergarten any more.

    • zzzz May 30, 2014 at 5:53 pm

      Far more men and women killed under your boy Bush Jr than the Obama crew… think about it some. Switch the Fox news off for awhile…

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