CNN's Jake Tapper had some tough questions on his Monday show for the Obama administration's deputy national security adviser, Tony Blinken.
The administration is facing an overwhelming public opposition to a potential strike on Syria, and has not been able to fully nail down its intelligence case tying Syrian president Bashar al-Assad to a recent chemical weapons attack.
A recent AP story took a very hard stance against the administration's case. It began:
The U.S. government insists it has the intelligence to prove it, but the American public has yet to see a single piece of concrete evidence -- no satellite imagery, no transcripts of Syrian military communications -- connecting the government of President Bashar Assad to the alleged chemical weapons attack last month that killed hundreds of people.
On his show, Tapper played Blinken a clip of Assad speaking to CBS's Charlie Rose:
"How can you talk about what happened if you don't have evidence? We're not like the American administration. We're not social media administration or government. We are the government that deal with reality."
"I don't like agreeing with Assad, but he's right," Tapper said. "The American people have seen no evidence tying the chemical weapons attack directly to Assad. And Tony, certainly you understand for many of us, it's not enough for the U.S. government to say, 'trust us, the intelligence tells us what we're saying it does. Please, just believe us.' I mean, you get that."
Blinken responded that many members of Congress had been "convinced" about Assad's culpability, and promised that, in his address on Tuesday, President Obama would "be able to lay out in a very compelling way exactly what we know, and he'll be able to give you some idea of how we know it."