he White House says it has no “irrefutable” evidence that Syrian President Bashar Assad was behind the August gas attack in a Damascus suburb, but that a “strong common-sense test irrespective of the intelligence” suggests the government is responsible.
"We've seen the video proof of the outcome of those attacks,” White House Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough told CNN, speaking of multiple clips which show victims of the suspected sarin attack in a Damascus suburb on August 21.
“All of that leads to a quite strong common-sense test irrespective of the intelligence that suggests that the regime carried this out. Now do we have a picture or do we have irrefutable beyond-a-reasonable-doubt evidence? This is not a court of law and intelligence does not work that way,” he said.
McDonough made appearances on leading US talk shows in an effort to garner support for proposed military action against Syria ahead of next week’s congressional vote. However, most lawmakers seem to be opposed to a US-led strike.
In an interview with NBC, the chief of staff stressed that “nobody is rebutting the intelligence; nobody doubts the intelligence.”
The US says it has intercepted conversations involving Syrian officials during which they take responsibility for the attack. However, Washington has not made those conversations public.
The Obama administration has also referred to its satellite and signals intelligence, as well as military communications, as proof that the regime was preparing to use poisonous gas just days before the alleged attack took place.
Yet the administration has refused to let the public see the evidence allegedly connecting Assad to the crime - even though ample amounts of satellite imagery was released earlier by the US in order to demonstrate the consequences of the attacks.