He made the startling admission during private remarks to 15 congressional members, said two senators who were in the room, The Daily Beast reported.
“[Kerry] acknowledged that the chemical weapons [plan] is being slow rolled, the Russians continue to supply arms, we are at a point now where we are going to have to change our strategy,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, who was in the meeting, which took place on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference, The Daily Beast said. The other senator in the room who confirmed the discussions: John McCain, the outlet reported.
Mr. Kerry also reportedly told the congressional members that he thinks Syria President Bashar Assad is not keeping his promise to turn over chemical weapons as scheduled and that neither the Geneva peace talks nor the Russians were proving helping in forging a peace deal, The Daily Beast said.
Also of note at this impromptu meeting: Mr. Kerry “openly talked about supporting arming the rebels. He openly talked about forming a coalition against al Qaeda because it’s a direct threat,” Mr. Graham said in the media outlet.
This is quite a deviance from the talk Mr. Kerry puts forth publicly in regards to Syria. The White House line is generally: No direct arms assistance for rebel fighters. And it’s a sharp contrast from what the State Department says Mr. Kerry believes.
“This is a case of members projecting what they want to hear and not stating the accurate facts of what was discussed,” said Mr. Kerry’s spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, in The Daily Beast. “It’s no secret that some members of Congress support this approach, but at no point during the meeting did Secretary Kerry raise lethal assistance for the opposition.”
Ms. Psaki added that Mr. Kerry was simply “describing a range of options that the administration has always had at its disposal … and engaging with Congress on their ideas,” The Daily Beast reported.