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Lee, Manchin, Murphy, Udall Call for an End to the Failed Syria Train and Equip Program

In a letter to Secretary Carter, Secretary Kerry and CIA Director Brennan, the bipartisan group of Senators urge U.S. officials to cease unsuccessful program and seek alternative ways forward

Oct 02 2015

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Mike Lee (R-UT) Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chris Murphy (D-CT), and Tom Udall (D-NM) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Defense Secretary Ash Carter, U.S. Department of State Secretary John Kerry and Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan urging them to end the Syria Train and Equip Program – an unsuccessful effort to train and equip Syrian opposition fighters – which has endangered Americans and further escalated conflict in the region.

Senator Lee, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) has been critical of this program since its inception and has closely monitored its implementation and results over the past year. He spoke out on the Senate floor in 2014 against then-Majority Leader Harry Reid’s inclusion of the program’s funding in a must-pass Continuing Resolution, calling the Senate’s failure to fully and openly debate this measure ‘a gross dereliction of duty.'
The Senators wrote in part: “The Syria Train and Equip Program goes beyond simply being an inefficient use of taxpayer dollars. As many of us initially warned, it is now aiding the very forces we aim to defeat. On Friday, USCENTCOM confirmed that some of the fighters that we trained and equipped had turned over ammunition and trucks to al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, Al Nusra Front. In exchange for safe passage, the fighters, trained by the U.S., gave up approximately 25% of their U.S.-issued equipment.”
Please read the full text of the Senators’ letter below:

Letter To End U.S. Train and Equip Program in Syria by Senator Mike Lee