May 28th, 2013
11:25 AM ET
1 year ago

White House had heads up on McCain's Syria trip

(CNN) – White House officials were notified that Sen. John McCain was planning to visit with rebels in Syria ahead of his trip to the war-torn nation, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday.

"We were aware that Sen. McCain was going to make this trip," Carney said, referring other questions about the administration's role in the visit to the State Department. He added the White House was looking forward to "speaking with Sen. McCain upon his return to learn more."

McCain, who is the first U.S. senator to visit Syria since civil war broke out two years ago, slipped into the country Monday through Turkey to meet with leaders of the Free Syrian Army. He remained in the country for several hours.

McCain is the leading voice in Congress for a greater U.S. role in ending Syria's civil war, which has been waged for more than two years. He has suggested establishing "safe zones" for Syria's rebels and taking out the regime's air assets, along with providing lethal weapons to Syria's opposition.

Republicans and Democrats alike have called on President Barack Obama to ramp up support for Syrian rebels, who now receive nonlethal aid like food and medicine from the United States. In early April that aid was stepped up to include equipment such as body armor, night vision goggles and other military equipment that is considered defensive in nature.

Carney did not announce any new administration positions with regard to Syria on Tuesday.


Filed under: John McCain • Syria
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. Ferret out the BS

    If Congressmen want to take fact finding trips they generally do so without approval from anyone, they are, after all, pretty far up on the food chain. He may even bring back some useful information on who to trust over there since it seems we've made these mistakes in the past. Al Quaida has infiltrated some of the rebel groups so it's hard to distinguish the bad guys from the good guys and we would hate to be supporting the bad guys.

    May 28, 2013 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  2. Data Driven

    "Republicans and Democrats alike have called on President Barack Obama to ramp up support for Syrian rebels"

    Oh, let's not. These Syrian rebels aren't exactly sad-eyed kittehs in a shelter. One of them posted a video of a beheading committed against one of Assad's goons. I'm getting a real "Smellks like Mujahadeen Spirit" vibe on this one. Naturally, McCain's very excited about the whole thing - another old man, slavering for war. Why don't we resist the urge.

    May 28, 2013 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    Anyone who thinks that everyone shooting at the Assad regime's forces are on the same side are as naive as McCain.

    May 28, 2013 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  4. just askin

    Sniffit
    "she had no authority whatsoever to make any agreement of the sort. like obama, just another photo op at our expense."
    --
    McCain doesn't have that authority either, so I guess you just admitted this is nothing more than a photo-op for him.
    --

    what the heck are you talking about? two different people on two different missions. pelosi making a peace overture according to rudy nyc is totally inappropriate unless direected to do so by the president.

    mccain is on a fact finding mission and not trying to make agreements or any kind. and his photo really does look far more presidential than obama walking the nj boardwalk. i know that must grate on you.

    nice, yet pathetic, try....

    May 28, 2013 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  5. Evergreen

    McCain wants to arm the least supported group of rebels? Everytime the US tries to pick winners and losers we pick wrong. How soon would the other groups turn against the one we support. Humanitarian aid is OK but nothing more. Syrians have to care about their own people as much as they want us to care about them. Otherwise the fighting will not end.

    May 28, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  6. rs

    Al Quaida has infiltrated some of the rebel groups so it's hard to distinguish the bad guys from the good guys and we would hate to be supporting the bad guys.
    _________________________
    In fact the most effective of the rebel forces IS al Queada, so it will be very hard to support the rebels without supporting the very people we claim to be fighting in the ongoing war on terror. More difficult (and hard to square with Mr. McCain's usual motives) is that supporting the rebels places Syria's Christian (who support the regime) directly in harms' way. How will that fly with the base? Meanwhile arming the rebels, or taking out Syria's air power pretty much puts us toe-to-toe with Russia. Doesn't negotiated paece sound a wee bit more sane given those elements?

    May 28, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  7. Al-NY,NY

    Data Driven

    Naturally, McCain's very excited about the whole thing – another old man, slavering for war. Why don't we resist the urge.
    -----------–

    He probably got a call from Cheney after Darth Vader looked at his Halliburton dividend sheet and got scared he wasn't making enough

    May 28, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  8. Parkmore

    He wants more dead people by giving arms? The rational is so wrong and will lead to millions of dead innocent people
    Negotiation is the best key

    May 28, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  9. vikingwoman

    This is a civil war & we should not get physically involved, w/"boots on the ground"! I hope McCain brings back some useful info, to help us decide how to proceed in a non-invasive manner! Why some politicians want to promote our nation as the police of the world is beyond logic! I guess it's true that war is good for business, so once again it all breaks down to $$$!!

    May 28, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
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