Meet the Press   |  September 01, 2013

Kerry: Evidence points to use of sarin in Syria

Secretary of State John Kerry tells David Gregory on Meet the Press that all signs suggest that Syrian leader Bashar Assad used the nerve agent in his alleged chemical weapons attack.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> you look at the polling. our nbc news poll released late in the week, 50% of those asked oppose a military strike . the british vote in parliament failed as a vote for military strikes. and the abrupt shift now, does it undermine u.s. credibility or will it be seen as careful deliberation?

>> i hope and pray it will be seen as careful deliberation, as appropriate exercise of american constitutional process. the united states is strongest when the congress speaks with the president, when the american people are invested, because we've had an appropriate vetting of all of the facts. let me just add this morning a very important recent development, that in the last 24 hours we have learned through samples that were provided to the united states that have now been tested from first responders in east damascus and hair samples and blood samples have tested positive for signatures of sarin. so this case is building, and this case will build. and i don't believe that my former colleagues in the united states senate and the house will turn their backs on all of our interests, on the credibility of our country, on the norms with respect to the enforcement of prohibition against the use of chemical weapons , which has been in place since 1925 . the congress adopted the chemical weapons convention . the congress has passed the syria accountability act . congress has a responsibility here, too. and i think that congress will recognize that and realize that our interests with respect to iran , we are hoping we have a diplomatic resolution of this standoff on the nuclear program in iran . but if we don't, iran will read importantly what we decide to do with respect to the enforcement of this convention in syria.

>> mr. secretary.

>> likewise israel. israel is at risk. jordan is at risk. turkey is at risk. the region is at risk. and we believe that the congress of the united states will do what is responsible.

>> mr. secretary, i want to underline the news you made this morning. this is a sarin gas attack perpetrated by the assad regime. this is a slam dunk case that he did it.

>> we don't -- the words " slam dunk " should be retired from are the american national security issues. we are saying that the -- that the high confidence that the intelligence community has expressed and the case that i laid out the other day is growing stronger by the day. we know where this attack came from. we know exactly where it went. we know what happened exactly afterwards. we know the preparations were being taken before, for this attack. we know that people were told to use their gas masks , to prepare for the use of a chemical barrage. we also know that after it took place they acknowledged that they had done it and were worried about the consequences and whether the u.n. inspectors were going to find out. i think this is a very powerful case, and the president is confident that as that case is presented to the united states congress and the american people , people will recognize that the world cannot stand aside and allow --

>> okay.

>> -- an assad or anybody else to break an almost 100-year-old acceptance. these weapons are not to be used.