Although “some evidence” has surfaced that chemical weapons have been used in Syria’s prolonged and intense civil war, it isn’t enough to warrant action, President Barack Obama said last week at a news briefing.
Obama said more facts must be known before he is willing to consider any kind of escalation or U.S. involvement in Syria. “We don’t know how [the chemical weapons] were used, when they were used, who used them,” he said. The U.K. and France have claimed that Syria has used poison gases in its war with opposition political groups. But “we don’t have a chain of custody that establishes what exactly happened,” the President said.
...The White House says its tentative assessment that the weapons were used was partly based on “physiological samples,” most likely blood samples collected from victims of attacks, experts say. The British and French governments say their claims stem from a range of evidence, including soil samples, witness interviews, and accounts by medical experts who observed victims’ symptoms.I am amused at the thought of President Obama basically playing QA auditor on this intelligence data. "...so it appears to me that these samples were not in a state of control, so I don't understand how you can make that conclusion."*
The role that chemistry has played in the Syrian conflict is not small, including the global intelligence community's ability to know somehow that a chemical reaction to create sarin gas was taking place.
*You know it's a rough morning when I'm making cGMP jokes.