Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) said Sunday morning he believes the U.S. is moving closer to providing lethal weapons to Syrian rebels.
Leahy made the remarks during a rare appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" in a segment focused on Syria's escalating civil war, U.S. homeland security and immigration reform.
Leahy's appearance on the Sunday talk show came just hours after air strikes were carried out — presumably by Israel — on military installations outside Damascus. Asked by moderator David Gregory whether the U.S. was edging toward providing "lethal aid" to Syria, Leahy said he believed so.
"Our problem in who to supply is that some of these groups are strong Islamists — al-Qaeda and others — and we've seen, like in Libya and Egypt and elsewhere, the Islamists tend to get the upper hand if they get in there," Leahy said. "But we have given hundreds of millions of dollars in refugee aid. We have given anti-aircraft equipment to Turkey. And the idea of getting weapons in — if we know the right people to get them, my guess is we'll give them to them."
Vermont's senior senator was joined during the segment by former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, Woodrow Wilson Center president Jane Harman and Congressman Tom Cotton (R-Ark.).
You can watch the full 23-minute panel discussion here.
Here's an excerpt of the Syria debate. Below that is an excerpt of Leahy discussing the chances of comprehensive immigration reform.