Pandemonium. Dead bodies of men, women and children are strewn across the floor. Those still alive, shake and convulse as their bodies shut down. Chilling screams echo in the background.
These are scenes from various videos the Obama administration has played out to a select group of senators in classified briefings held behind closed doors. Their point, to make a case that a limited military attack on Syria is justified.
The Senate Intelligence Committee viewed 13 different videos depicting the horrific aftermath caused from the chemical weapons attack in Syria on August 21.
CNN was the first to obtain theses videos, and while many of them have already been posted to YouTube, this collection bears special importance, as the intelligence community has given them their stamp of authenticity.
The alleged attack carried out by Syrian forces operating under President Bashar al-Assad, has sparked a critical foreign policy question: Should the United States respond with a military strike?
The videos are compelling and could play a vital role in the administration’s efforts to convince not only Congress, but also the American public, that retaliatory strikes against Syria are necessary, according to former U.N. Ambassador, Bill Richardson.
“That video will sensitize the American people that this isn’t just an intervention, that this is a military strike to stop that type of atrocity,” the former congressman told CNN.
While the videos show the brutality of the chemical weapons attack, they do not in and of themselves offer any evidence pointing towards who is responsible.
President Barack Obama is in favor of a strike on Syria, and has been working to convince European allies and national lawmakers towards that end.
After attending the closed-door briefings, Dianne Feinstein, the committee’s charwoman, has sided with the President and will vote in favor of military intervention. But at least some of her constituents are in opposition.
“What’s coming in is overwhelmingly negative,” Feinstein said Thursday, regarding voter feedback. “There’s no question about that. But you see, then they don’t know what I know.”
Shortly after CNN obtained and broadcasted portions of the 13 videos, the Senate Intelligence Committee posted the full videos on its website to be publicly viewed.
So, while the public does not have the complete picture like the administration does, they at least have access to a portion of their evidence, allowing everyone the freedom to draw their own conclusions and decide what they think.