The U.S. House of Representatives is demanding a rundown of any chemical-warfare materials that Syria’s government may be trying to hide.
An intelligence authorization bill passed by the chamber on Friday would compel the Obama administration to send Congress an assessment of any “undeclared chemical-weapons stockpile, munitions and facilities” held by Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government. The national intelligence director’s report — required within 30 days of the legislation’s enactment — must also address the origin of any hidden agents, potential “gaps” in U.S. knowledge about the Syrian stockpile, and related “denial and deception” tactics by Damascus.
Assad’s regime has given other governments custody of all but roughly 7 percent of a 1,300-metric-ton chemical arsenal it acknowledged possessing last year. However, U.S. and other Western intelligence reportedly suggests that the regime remains capable of deploying chemical weapons, including materials it may have concealed from international inspectors.
Damascus has never admitted to tapping warfare chemicals in its 3-year-old war with opposition forces. The government pledged to relinquish its chemical stockpile, though, after sarin nerve agent last year killed hundreds of people in a rebel-controlled neighborhood and raised the prospect of an international military response.
The House-passed authorization bill calls for a “comprehensive assessment of chemical weapon stockpiles in Syria,” as well as “a listing of key personnel associated with the Syrian chemical weapons program.”
The legislation would require updated reports to be issued every 90 days over an 18-month period.
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With three days until the first debate, the polls are coming fast and furious. The latest round:
- An Associated Press/Gfk poll of registered voters found very few voters committed, with Clinton leading Trump, 37% to 29%, and Gary Johnson at 7%.
- A McClatchy-Marist poll gave Clinton a six-point edge, 45% to 39%, in a four-way ballot test. Johnson pulls 10% support, with Jill Stein at 4%.
- Rasmussen, which has drawn criticism for continually showing Donald Trump doing much better than he does in other polls, is at it again. A new survey gives Trump a five-point lead, 44%-39%.
In contrast to Hillary Clinton's meticulous debate practice sessions, Donald Trump "is largely shunning traditional debate preparations, but has been watching video of…Clinton’s best and worst debate moments, looking for her vulnerabilities.” Trump “has paid only cursory attention to briefing materials. He has refused to use lecterns in mock debate sessions despite the urging of his advisers. He prefers spitballing ideas with his team rather than honing them into crisp, two-minute answers.”
Donald Trump "is on the precipice of becoming the only major-party presidential candidate this century not to reach out to millions of American voters whose dominant, first or just preferred language is Spanish. Trump has not only failed to buy any Spanish-language television or radio ads, he so far has avoided even offering a translation of his website into Spanish, breaking with two decades of bipartisan tradition."
Bill and Hillary Clinton have purchased the home next door to their primary residence in tony Chappaqua, New York, for $1.16 million. "By purchasing the new home, the Clinton's now own the entire cul-de-sac at the end of the road in the leafy New York suburb. The purchase makes it easier for the United States Secret Service to protect the former president and possible future commander in chief."