Hagel denied Israel gave him assessment of chemical use in Syria


“They did not give me that assessment. I guess it wasn’t complete,” Hagel told reporters in Cairo after visiting Israel. “I haven’t seen the specifics,” he said when asked about the statement by Israeli military intelligence officer Brig. Gen. Itai Brun, Tuesday, “To the best of our professional understanding, the [Syrian] regime used lethal chemical weapons against gunmen in recent months.”

Hagel said US intelligence agencies were still conducting an assessment… “That’s not at all questioning other nations’ intelligence, but the United States relies on its own intelligence.”

The Israeli claim came less than a week after France and Britain made the same assessment. A second Israeli official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, added that “dozens” were killed in five attacks in which a “sarin-type” nerve agent was dispersed.

Israeli officials said they have shared their findings with the U.S. government. U.S. officials acknowledged that Israeli and U.S. intelligence agencies have remained in close contact on the issue.

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