Hagel: Israel Did Not Tell Him Of Intel On Syria, Caught By Surprise
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel indicated on Wednesday that he was caught by surprise when Israeli officials publicly revealed their assessment that Syria has used chemical weapons in its civil war.
Hagel told reporters that his Israeli counterpart, Moshe Yaalon, did not alert him to the assessment when they met in Tel Aviv on Monday. The assessment was announced publicly on Tuesday by a senior official with Israel's military intelligence office.
"They did not give me that assessment; I guess it was not complete," Hagel said after several hours of meetings with senior Egyptian officials on the fourth stop of a week-long Mideast tour. "So I have not seen the specifics of it" or discussed it with Israeli officials.
He said he and Yaalon discussed the issue of Syria's chemical weapons, but Hagel would not elaborate further.
Hagel said that Washington is looking for "real intelligence" on the issue of Syrian chemical weapon use.