US discloses Syria news in rapid revelations

Thursday - 4/25/2013, 6:01pm EDT

FILE - In this March 28, 2013 file photo, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaks at the Pentagon. Hagel said Thursday that U.S. intelligence has concluded "with some degree of varying confidence," that the Syrian government has used sarin gas as a weapon in its 2-year-old civil war, (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Obama administration's disclosure of Syrian chemical weapons use came in a flurry of rapid revelations Thursday from around the world.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, traveling in the United Arab Emirates, was the first to make the announcement. To the surprise of his traveling press corps, Hagel volunteered that the U.S. had "some degree of varying confidence" that Syria had used sarin gas.

The announcement came just as President Barack Obama and the four living former U.S. presidents gathered for the dedication of George W. Bush's presidential library, stealing some of the media thunder from that event.

Secretary of State John Kerry chimed in minutes later from Capitol Hill. Following a closed-door briefing on Capitol Hill, he told reporters the U.S. was aware of two instances of chemical weapons.

Moments later, the White House released a pair of letters sent to congressional lawmakers that described likely "small scale" chemical weapons attacks.


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