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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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March 28th, 2013
04:23 PM ET

Breaking on The Lead: Obama says no to non-lethal assistance to Syria

President Obama has been turning down the advice of some of his closest advisers - his vice president, both Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, and his top military commanders - on how to deal with Syria. The National Security Council recommended the United States give non-lethal assistance to the Syrian rebels last month, but Obama did not approve the recommendation, according to Josh Rogin, with Foreign Policy Magazine. Rogin broke the story on The Lead and on his blog, The Cable. Read his full story here.

"In February, just before John Kerry went to meet the friends of Syria and the Syrian opposition, all of the members of the National Security Council, all of the departments that work on Syria, came together and recommended to Obama that he should give the rebels night vision goggles, body armor, things that can't kill people but could help them fight the Assad regime," said Rogin. "The White House didn't reject the recommendation, but they didn't accept it either," says Rogin.

"This is seen by experts, lawmakers, and people in the Syrian opposition, as a rejection, a defacto rejection for sure," added Rogin.

The move may reflect a second-term Obama more mindful of his legacy, and hesitant to involve the U.S. in any more foreign wars.

"The White House has always wanted to avoid involvement in costly and bloody U.S. interventions in the Middle East," says Rogin.

The administration is also "committed to seeking a political solution to the Syria crisis that is negotiated between the opposition and the regime," added Rogin. "They feel like adding arms and helping them fight militarily will only fuel the fire and will make a negotiated political solution more difficult."

The political situation at the White House is also growing more tense over this issue.

"My sources inside the administration tell me over and over again there is a growing frustration throughout the bureaucracy about the White House's reluctance to go past basic humanitarian aid for the Syrian rebels."

Click on the video above for Josh Rogin's full interview with The Lead.

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