Nightly News   |  August 25, 2013

Obama administration still deciding on Syria plan

There’s a sense of urgency at the White House about the ongoing issues in Syria. NBC’s Kristen Welker reports.

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>> now to nbc's kristen welker at the white house where the administration is trying to find some kind of international collusion.

>> the obama administration is trying to build an international coalition as it determines how to respond. second of state john kerry worked the phones today. president obama spoke with the president of france just hours ago. the urgency here at the white house is palpable. as protesters rally outside the white house urging the obama administration to help syria.

>> the people of syria --

>> reporter: top officials continue to huddle inside to determine how to respond. according to one administration official based on the number of victims and other evidence, there is very little doubt at this point that a chemical weapon was used by the syrian regime in this incident. the administration remains skeptical about granting access to the site. one official called the move, too late to be credible. the british foreign secretary also has doubts.

>> we have to be realistic now about what the u.n. team can achieve.

>> reporter: defense secretary chuck hagel says he is getting ready for the next steps.

>> palm has asked the defense department to prepare options for all contingencies. we have done that.

>> reporter: right now four guides missiles are in the mediterranean. also at least one u.s. navy submarine is nearby. on the table, limited air strikes , most likely cruise missiles targeting key assad military command posts.

>> i hope the president as soon as we get back to washington will ask for authorization from congress to do something in a very surgical and proportional way.

>> we have to move and move quickly.

>> reporter: but some lawmakers continue to urge caution.

>> we have to verify that it was directed by the assad regime. because that will allow us to build been international coalition to take further steps.

>> reporter: cole lynn powell --

>> i am less sure of the resistance, what do they represent? and is it becoming more radicalized with more al qaeda coming?

>> reporter: now despite that, the obama administration remains wary about getting