By Julian Pecquet - 08/28/13 10:39 PM EDT
The Obama administration is expected to brief key lawmakers Thursday on the secret intelligence underpinning its firm conviction that Bashar Assad's forces attacked rebels with chemical weapons last week.
The chairmen and ranking members on key Senate and House committees – armed services, foreign affairs and intelligence – are scheduled to participate in a conference call Thursday with senior administration officials, Yahoo News reports. The State Department has said it would share classified information with Congress before making unclassified details available to the public “sometime this week.”
The administration made it clear Wednesday that it holds Assad ultimately responsible.
“He is responsible, ultimately, for the decisions that are made,” said State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf.
The briefing comes amid growing pressure from lawmakers to keep Congress in the loop.
More than 100 House members wrote to Obama on Wednesday demanding a congressional authorization. And House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) wrote to the president urging him to make the case for military action to Congress and the American people.
“I have conferred with the chairmen of the national security committees who have received initial outreach from senior Administration officials,” Boehner wrote, “and while the outreach has been appreciated, it is apparent from the questions above that the outreach has, to date, not reached the level of substantive consultation.”
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