WASHINGTON Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says President Barack Obama approved plans in June to give lethal aid to Syrian rebels, making the decision public for the first time.
Hagel and Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, both referred to the covert aid during a hearing on Obama's request that Congress approve military action against Syria.
Corker said he has been dismayed at the lack of support that has flowed to the rebels despite the promises of lethal aid.
Hagel acknowledged that Obama decided in June to send lethal aid to the rebels. He said the Pentagon has not been directly involved because it is "a covert action."
Officials have spoken quietly about the expected CIA aid but say none has been delivered.