Adam Schiff: Biden’s Notification of Syria Airstrike Was ‘Inadequate’

In this March 3, 2020 file photo House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., talks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 3, 2020. Schiff is a possible candidate to be named California's next Attorney General after Xavier Becerra, was nominated to join the Biden Administration as Secretary …
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, criticized the Biden administration for the way it notified Congressional leaders about the U.S.’s military strike targeting Iran-backed military groups in eastern Syria on Thursday evening.

Schiff, who is a member of the Gang of Eight which receives briefings on classified intelligence matters by the executive branch, told CNN reporter Manu Raju that Biden’s “means of notification” if the strike was “inadequate.”

“I’m looking at the legal justification, the attribution, the urgency, the need to protect,” Schiff said when asked whether the White House should have sought Congressional authorization. “I’m not ready to reach a definitive conclusion on it, but we have requested more information from the administration.”

Biden waged the first military action of his presidency by ordering a strike on Syrian facilities in response to rocket attacks on U.S. targets in Iraq. The attacks left one civilian contractor dead and nine others wounded. A U.S. service member was among those injured.

At least 22 people were killed in Thursday’s airstrikes, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Schiff’s comments come after Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), a member of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, urged Biden to consult Congress on the strikes.

“The American people deserve to hear the Administration’s rationale for these strikes and its legal justification for acting without coming to Congress,” Kaine said in a Friday statement. “Offensive military action without congressional approval is not constitutional absent extraordinary circumstances. Congress must be fully briefed on this matter expeditiously.”

At least 22 people were killed in Thursday’s airstrikes, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters during a regular press briefing earlier this week that Iranian-made and -supplied rockets have been used in many such attacks but wouldn’t say if rockets from Tehran were involved in the Erbil attack, stating they will await the conclusions of Iraq’s investigation before attributing blame.

Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, told reporters on Wednesday that the United States will respond but reserves the right do so in a time and manner of its choosing.

“We will respond in a way that’s calculated, on our timetable and using a mix of tools seen and unseen,” she said. “What we will not do — and what we’ve seen in the past — is lash out and risk an escalation that plays into the hands of Iran by further destabilizing Iraq.”

The UPI contributed to this report. 

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