Catherine Thompson is a news writer for Talking Points Memo. Before joining TPM, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett and interned at The L Magazine. At New York University she served as the deputy managing editor of NYU's student newspaper, The Washington Square News. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) on Friday agreed with an assessment on the Syrian regime's use of chemical weapons delivered by Secretary of State John Kerry, stating the "heinous attack" must not pass without a "meaningful response" from the international community.
"I listened carefully to what Secretary Kerry had to say and believe his remarks should stir the conscience of the world," Feinstein said in a written statement. "He pointed out the high confidence our government has that this was a chemical weapons attack, that it was directed by the Assad regime and that it killed 1,429 people, including at least 426 children."
“The unclassified intelligence assessment released today tracks closely with briefings I have received over the past week," the statement continued. "I agree with Secretary Kerry that the world cannot let such a heinous attack pass without a meaningful response, and I hope the international community will take appropriate action.”
The British government approached the New York Times about destroying documents it obtained pertaining to the National Security Agency's British intelligence partner Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), which were leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, Reuters reported Friday.
People familiar with the matter told Reuters that Times executive editor Jill Abramson stonewalled the request from a senior official at the British Embassy in Washington, D.C. British officials never followed up on the request, the sources said.
A spokesman for the British Embassy in Washington told Reuters that the British government would not "get into the specifics about our efforts but it should come as no surprise if we approach a person who is in possession of some or all of this material."
"We have presented a witness statement to the court in Britain which explains why we are trying to secure copies of over 58,000 stolen intelligence documents - to protect public safety and our national security," the spokesman added.
A spokeswoman for the Times declined to comment.
Alan Rusbridger, editor of The Guardian, revealed earlier this month that U.K. security agents entered that newspaper's offices to destroy hard drives that may have contained information from Snowden's leaks.
An unclassified U.S. intelligence assessment released Friday was accompanied by a map that shows areas reportedly affected by a chemical weapons attack in Damascus, Syria on Aug. 21. More than 1,400 people were killed the attack, including 426 children, according to the assessment.
Secretary of State John Kerry announced Friday that the Obama administration was releasing an unclassified report on its findings linking Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime to a chemical weapons attack in Damascus on Aug. 21, urging the public to look at the evidence for themselves.
"I'm not asking you to take my word for it," Kerry said. "Read for yourself, everyone, all of you read for yourselves the evidence from thousands of sources -- evidence that is already publicly available. Read for yourselves the verdict reached by our intelligence community about the chemical weapons attack the Assad regime inflicted."
"So the primary question is really no longer what do we know," Kerry added. "The question is what are we, collectively, what are we in the world going to do about it?"
More than 1,400 people were killed in the devastating attack earlier this month, which was extensively documented on YouTube, including 426 children, the report says.
Kerry also reassured Americans that a possible military intervention in Syria would not repeat the mistakes of the Iraqi invasion.
"More than mindful of the Iraq experience. We will not repeat that moment," he said at the State Department.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said she wouldn't want to assume the Speaker's gavel again in an interview with National Journal published Thursday.
Asked if she'd like to return to the post, the first female House speaker responded "No, that's not my thing. I did that."
Pelosi told National Journal that she respects the position current House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) occupies, but wouldn't comment on if she empathizes with his challenge of leading a divided caucus.
"He's the speaker of the House. I respect the job," she said. "The position that he holds is a very exalted one. I wish his members would respect his position as much as I do."
Pelosi previously blasted Republicans in the House for voting down their own farm bill in June, calling the legislative debacle "major amateur hour."
The wife of rocker and National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent was arrested Thursday at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport when a gun was found in her carry-on luggage, the Dallas Morning News reported.
Airport spokesman David Magana confirmed to the newspaper that the airport's Department of Public Safety took Shemane Ann Nugent into custody. A police report was forthcoming on Friday.
Nugent's attorney, David Finn, told the Morning News that his client had a concealed-carry license and "completely forgot or never knew the weapon was in her bag." Finn said Nugent had no prior criminal record.
Ted Nugent blasted President Barack Obama's gun control message in his State of the Union address earlier this year, calling it "nonsense."
An overwhelming majority of Americans want President Barack Obama to secure congressional approval before using force in Syria, although they remain divided on the scope of military action, according to an NBC News survey released Friday.
Overall, 79 percent of those surveyed said they believe Obama should have Congress' approval prior to taking action while 50 percent said the United States should not intervene over the Syrian regime's reported use of chemical weapons. Support among the public for intervention increases when military action is limited to the U.S. Navy launching cruise missiles; 50 percent favor cruise missile strikes, while 44 percent oppose them, according to the poll.
The survey found that 58 percent of respondents agreed, however, with the statement that the use of chemical weapons by any country violates a "red line" and necessitates a significant U.S. response, including potential military action.
Former President George W. Bush said on Friday that President Barack Obama has a "tough choice" to make in determining a U.S. response to the Syrian regime's use of chemical weapons.
"The president's got a tough choice to make," Bush told "Fox & Friends" host Brian Kilmeade. "And if he decides to use our military, he'll have the greatest military ever backing him up."
"I'm not a fan of Mr. Assad," he added. "He's an ally of Iran, and he's made mischief."
When pressed about Congress' and the United Nation's reluctance to proceed with military action, Bush remained tight-lipped with his take.
"The president has to make a tough call, Brian,” Bush laughed. “I know you’re trying to subtly rope me into the issues of the day. I refuse to be roped in. Putting our military in harm's way is the toughest decision a president will make."
Bush's former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, a hawk on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, said this week that he believes the Obama administration has failed to justify military intervention in Syria.