Secretary of State John Kerry has lost faith in his own administration’s Syria policy, he told fifteen U.S. Congressmen in a private, off-the-record meeting, according to two of the senators who were in the room, Josh Rogin reported for The Daily Beast.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, who attended Kerry’s briefing, said that Kerry “acknowledged that the chemical weapons [plan] is being slow rolled, the Russians continue to supply arms, we are at a point now where we are going to have to change our strategy.”
“He openly talked about supporting arming the rebels. He openly talked about forming a coalition against al Qaeda because it’s a direct threat,” Graham continued.
Sens. Graham and John McCain told The Daily Beast, The Washington Post, and Bloomberg they agreed with Kerry that the time had come for the United States to drastically alter its approach to the Syrian civil war.
McCain and Graham also said they share Kerry’s assessment that the U.S. must take steps to address the growing al Qaeda presence in Syria, which Clapper said now amounts to over 26,000 extremists on Syrian soil.
But Fred Hiatt, writing for the Washington Post, reported that Kerry’s spokeswoman, Jennifer Psaki, denied that her boss raised the prospect of lethal assistance for the rebels. “This is a case of members projecting what they want to hear and not stating the accurate facts of what was discussed,” she said.