During a Congress hearing session Thursday, Panetta and Dempsey said they were in favor of a recommendation advocated last year by the State Department and the CIA to arm "the Syrian opposition".
Senator John McCain pressed the Pentagon leaders about whether they backed the recommendation, to which they said yes. "Did you support the recommendation by then Secretary of State Clinton and then head of CIA General Petraeus that we provide weapons to the resistance in Syria? Did you support that?" McCain (R-AZ) asked Panetta and Dempsey. "We did," Dempsey responded.
Panetta however added that the plan was rejected by the White House. The New York Times reported on February 2 about the plan developed last summer by Clinton and Petraeus, who have since left their jobs.
Panetta and Dempesy's public acknowledgment followed statements by Republican Senator Rand Paul Thursday in which the latter revealed confirmed information about weapon shipment from Libya to Syria under US supervision.
Paul told the CNN channel that in answer to a question he recently raised to Clinton on whether we coordinate to send weapons from Libya to Turkey, then to the gunmen in Syria, she answered no, but before one week of the assassination of US Ambassador in Libya, a ship loaded with weapons left Libya with the recognition of the Americans.
The ship captain talked about weapons which were sent to the gunmen in Syria who fight each other on who got weapons and who didn't, Paul added.
Barack Obama administration claims it provides only "non-lethal aid" to the Syrian opposition, without clarifying how this aid is non-lethal in its perspective.
Information on the US involvement in supporting the terrorist groups in Syria is plenty as the Washington Post recently revealed the role of the CIA in exchanging information with Saudi Arabia and Qatar who are supplying the gunmen with weapons.
The newspaper report noted that CIA agents are deployed along the Turkish-Syrian border and coordinating the passing of equipment and medical supplies to the gunmen in Syria and providing communications training.