November 6th, 2013
08:18 AM ET

U.S. Intelligence Suggests Syria May Hide Some Chemical Weapons

The United States is looking at new classified intelligence indicating the Syrian government may not fully declare its chemical weapons stockpile, CNN has learned. That would mean it will still have a secret cache of chemical weapons even after the current agreed-upon destruction effort is carried out.

The intelligence is not definitive but “there are various threads of information that would shake our confidence,” one U.S. official said. “They have done things recently that suggest Syria is not ready to get rid of all their chemical weapons.”

CNN has spoken to several U.S. officials with access to the latest intelligence on Syria, who confirmed the information. All declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the data. U.S. intelligence agencies, the Defense Department, the State Department and White House are all reviewing the information.

One official cautioned there is not yet a definitive U.S. conclusion about Syrian intentions based on this intelligence, but there is an effort to gather corroborating information and better understand what the regime may be up to.

There is agreement among U.S. officials that Syria’s official declarations to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) have been made largely in good faith after the threat of military action by the United States for Syria’s use of chemical weapons against civilians. The United States believes Syrian President Bashar al-Assad understands not to do that again.

National Security Council spokesperson Bernadette Meehan issued a statement Tuesday evening saying: "We continue to review and assess the completeness and accuracy of Syria's declaration to the OPCW. However, in accordance with OPCW regulations, Syria's declaration is confidential, and we will not publicly discuss its details or our assessment of it. For further details, we would refer you to the OPCW."

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  1. Matt

    The benefits of chemical weapons is you do not damage infrastructure and thus do not have shell out for reconstruction and destroy the economy. The more damage Assad does the more it costs the better. Slowly he is deconstructing Syria back to the stone age. What strategy maybe that is the strategy. He destroys his own country his own Iraq 10 year insurgency. In which case it does not matter who wins just the damage done. Some places recover from other that have little to offer Afghanistan, Somalia and say Yemen have nothing and little chance of recovery just like Syria. Those that wanted to be free of Assad are refugees and will have to be settle outside Syria, those that support him get to stay and live in what was once Syria a lawless worthless whole of a country.

    November 9, 2013 at 12:20 am | Reply

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