The situation in Syria and the humanitarian crisis there are an "apocalyptic disaster," according to the Director of National Intelligence.
Asked about photos that recently surfaced that appear to show Syrian regime prisoners who have been tortured and murdered, Director James Clapper said that he has "no reason to doubt" that the photos are authentic, and that it is "difficult to imagine" that something of that magnitude could be fabricated.
Clapper said that the photos are "terrible," and said that when you factor in the humanitarian disaster and refugee crisis, "it's an apocalyptic disaster."
Clapper was testifying Tuesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Responding to a question about the situation in Syria over the next six months or so, Clapper said that he believes it will remain at the status quo, and they are "facing a prolonged stalemate." He said that Syria is still receiving "external support" from Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah.
Asked by Sen. John McCain about prospects for meaningful development from the upcoming Geneva Conference on Syria, Clapper acknowledged that intelligence community expectations are "pretty modest" and that hope for a long-term political solution remains "problematic."
First published February 11 2014, 9:04 AM
Courtney Kube is the national security producer for NBC News. She started in this role in 2005. Courtney covers the Pentagon, U.S. military operations all over the world, and intelligence and national security issues.
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Kube first came to NBC News as an intern in college, and then was hired to work on the assignment desk. She was hired as a researcher for "Meet the Press" with Tim Russert in 2001 and worked her way to associate producer over the next two years.
Courtney graduated from the University of Michigan and lives with her husband in Chevy Chase, Md.