Hagel dismisses claims Obama selling Syria to Congress

Hagel was in Manila as part of a weeklong goodwill tour in Asia, meeting with various defense leaders in the region. 

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It is "just as important ... [to] seek their advice [and] to seek their opinions on a way forward," he added, explaining why the administration provided lawmakers with the unclassified update by top U.S. national security officials.  

The call was part of the administration's ongoing effort to inform Congress about the possibility of limited military strikes against Syria.

President Obama is considering military action in Syria in response to the alleged use of chemical weapons by Syrian President Bashar Assad. 

Obama has repeatedly stated the use of those weapons in the country's ongoing civil war would cross a so-called "red line" and trigger a U.S. military response. 

Along with Hagel, Secretary of State John Kerry, National Security Adviser Susan Rice and National Intelligence Director James Clapper were also on the call with more than two dozen congressional leaders.

The White House is preparing to release declassified details on intelligence supporting American plans for military strikes in Syria on Friday. 

White House leaders had planned to provide a classified briefing to lawmakers but had to make the update unclassified since administration officials could not line up enough secure phone lines for the large teleconference. 

Hagel's comments are in response to harsh criticism coming from Capitol Hill on the White House's case for war in Syria. 

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) said the call was light on details but heavy on rhetoric, designed to sell the idea of U.S. action in Syria to Congress. 

"It was an hour-and-a-half of John Kerry trying to sell us on the President's program of military intervention in Syria," Inhofe said on Fox News Friday.

While Kerry and others have touted the administration is considering a "broad range of options" for action, details on those options never came to light during Thursday's call. 

"We talked for an hour-and-a-half, and they didn't mention one of the options," Inhofe said. 

Congressional reaction comes on the heels of a failed vote in the British Parliament to support U.S. action in Syria. 

British lawmakers defeated a proposal by U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron to provide military support to any American operation in Syria. 

Other crucial U.S. allies, such as Germany and other NATO members, have also balked at backing military operations in the country. 

So far, only France has publicly expressed support for the anticipated U.S. mission.