Chambliss: US hasn’t shown ‘smoking gun’

Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.). the Intelligence Committee’s ranking member, said Wednesday that he and Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein were disappointed with the information released by the Obama administration on the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. 

Chambliss said the information “did not really show that smoking gun” on who was responsible for downing the plane, during an interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

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“I'm a little disappointed in that because there's obviously a lot of evidence pointing to the Russians, some of it circumstantial. But frankly, some of it's pretty direct. It's still classified,” he said.

Chambliss, though, added that he believed more information would be forthcoming.

“But I think at the end of the day, all that classified information will ultimately be released,” he said.

Chambliss said he spoke with Feinstein (D-Calif.) on Tuesday about the intelligence briefing, and she expressed disappointment with the evidence being released.

The administration presented evidence Tuesday, accusing Russia of creating the conditions for the downing of the passenger jet, but didn’t offer intelligence that proved Russia was directly involved.

U.S. officials believe the plane was brought down by a surface-to-air missile fired from territory controlled by pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine. The U.S. has accused Moscow of providing those groups with weaponry and other assistance.

Regardless of the intelligence, Chambliss said, “whether it was the Russians themselves that pulled the trigger or Russian separatists trained by Russians, it's all in the same, and it all goes back ultimately to [Russian President] Vladimir Putin.”

Chambliss said the United States knows a missile truck was rolling through the area of eastern Ukraine shortly before the passenger jet was shot down Thursday.

After it was fired, he said the truck showed one missile missing, adding the U.S. can substantiate where it was fired from.

“That's the type of hard evidence that, coupled with the evidence that was shown yesterday on social media, will make it pretty darn clear as to who fired this missile,” he said.

White House deputy national security adviser Tony Blinken said on “Morning Joe” Wednesday that the administration is working to declassify more information, but he said the evidence presented is already “compelling.”

“We know that the shot was fired from an area controlled by the separatists. And we know the separatists bragged about it on social media immediately afterward, until they found out they had downed a civilian plane,” he said. “So I think it is a very compelling case. We began to lay some of that out in detail for the media yesterday.

“We're working to declassify more information. But I think when you look at it in its totality, it's very compelling,” said Blinken.