Late Thursday night, the White House announced that an unclassified conference call took place with congressional leaders, the Chairs and Ranking Members of national security committees, National Security Advisor Susan Rice, Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Sandy Winnefeld.
The purpose of the phone call, according to the White House, was to brief congressional leaders on the Administration’s thinking and seek their input on the U.S. response to the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons near Damascus on 21 August.
U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss (R - Georgia), the ranking member on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, participated in the ninety minute call.
In a statement released before the call, Chambliss indicated he supported a military response to Syria's use of chemical weapons in the country's ongoing civil war.
"Based on available intelligence, there can be no doubt the Assad regime is responsible for using chemical weapons on the Syrian people," Chambliss said. "It is time for the United States to act in a serious way, and send a clear message to Assad and his allies that the world will not tolerate chemical or biological attacks. Continuing to do nothing is not an option. Short of putting troops on the ground, I believe a meaningful military response is appropriate.”