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Top intelligence officials, others, to brief lawmakers on Syria

Thursday - 8/29/2013, 2:30pm  ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama's national security adviser, Susan Rice, and intelligence chief James Clapper are among those scheduled to talk to members of Congress later today about Syria.

The teleconference, according to congressional aides, will also include Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, and the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Some Republicans and Democrats in Congress have said the president hasn't made the case for U.S. military action against Syria, despite the administration's conclusion that Syria's government carried out a large-scale chemical weapons attack against civilians last week.

One exception is Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He told CBS that Obama should take some form of action to send a message to Syria's Bashar Assad that "chemical weapons cannot be used against innocent civilians."

Some lawmakers insist that Obama can't order military action against Syria without congressional authorization. Menendez, though, says there's an exception under the War Powers act if Obama "believes the national security of the United States is at stake."

The administration signaled yesterday that it would act even without the backing of allies or the United Nations.

%@AP Links

192-w-29-(Jerry Bodlander, AP correspondemt, with Vice President Joe Biden)--There's still no decision on how the administration will respond to the use of chemical weapons in Syria. AP correspondent Jerry Bodlander reports. ((watch for dating after word that the congressional briefing has taken place, possibly in the 6:00 ped hour)) (29 Aug 2013)

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193-c-18-(Jerry Bodlander, AP correspondent)-"a few hours"-AP correspondent Jerry Bodlander reports many members of Congress have doubts about the administration's approach. ((watch for dating after word that the congressional briefing has taken place, possibly in the 6:00 ped hour)) (29 Aug 2013)

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