The Note's Must-Reads for Friday June 14, 2013

The Note's Must-Reads are a round-up of today's political headlines and stories from ABC News and the top U.S. newspapers. Posted Monday through Friday right here at

Compiled by ABC News' Carrie Halperin, Jayce Henderson and Amanda VanAllen

SYRIA ABC News' Dana Hughes, Z. Byron Wolf and Mary Bruce: " US Confirms Syrian Government Used Chemical Weapons" The United States has concluded that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime has used chemical weapons in the fight against its own people, the White House announced today. "Following a deliberative review, our intelligence community assesses that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons, including the nerve agent sarin, on a small scale against the opposition multiple times in the last year," Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes said in a written statement. "The use of chemical weapons violates international norms and crosses clear red lines that have existed within the international community for decades." LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Adam Entous and Julian Barnes: " U.S. to Arm Syrian Rebels" President Barack Obama authorized his administration to provide arms to rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, officials said Thursday, a major policy shift after the White House said it had confirmed that Damascus used chemical weapons in the country's civil war. The classified order directing the Central Intelligence Agency to coordinate arming the rebels in concert with its allies reverses a long-standing policy that limited the U.S. to providing nonlethal support. LINK

The New York Times' Mark Mazzetti, Michael r. Gordon and Mark Landler: " U.S. Is Said to Plan to Send Weapons to Syrian Rebels" The Obama administration, concluding that the troops of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria have used chemical weapons against rebel forces in his country's civil war, has decided to begin supplying the rebels for the first time with small arms and ammunition, according to American officials. The officials held out the possibility that the assistance, coordinated by the Central Intelligence Agency, could include antitank weapons, but they said that for now supplying the antiaircraft weapons that rebel commanders have said they sorely need is not under consideration. LINK

Politico's Glenn Thrush and Reid J. Epstein: " Syria chemical weapons: Obama's forced hand on Syria" President Barack Obama has crossed a red line of his own on Syria - spurred by the fast flood of bad news on the ground and a spirited internal debate about national prestige under his own roof. The Obama administration's decision Thursday to provide military and political aid to anti-Assad fighters wasn't merely a result of confirmation the Syrian regime used sarin gas on rebels - but a decision prompted by the realization that Syrian President Bashar Assad was on the cusp of gaining a permanent advantage over rebel groups and the fear of imminent sectarian bloodshed further spilling into neighboring Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon. LINK

HILLARY CLINTON The Washington Post's Philip Rucker: "Hillary Clinton speech embraces Obama priorities, hints at potential agenda for 2016? Hillary Rodham Clinton, making her first major public appearance since stepping down as secretary of state, embraced key pillars of President Obama's domestic agenda here Thursday and said she would strive to act as an envoy between businesses, nonprofit groups and the government. Speaking at a charitable conference convened by her husband, the potential 2016 presidential candidate announced that she had joined her family's foundation and said she would spend the coming months championing early-childhood development, economic development and opportunities for women and girls. LINK

IMMIGRATION REFORM Bloomberg's Kathleen Hunter: " Senate Immigration Authors Consider Border Control Change" Co-sponsors of the U.S. Senate's bipartisan immigration proposal are considering ways to strengthen border-security provisions in an effort to draw Republican support. New York Democrat Charles Schumer and Arizona Republican John McCain, two of the bipartisan group of eight senators that wrote the bill, said members were discussing possible changes among themselves and with other senators. LINK

USA Today's Mary Orndorff Troyan: " House debates deputizing police as immigration agents" A Republican proposal to deputize local police as immigration agents would improve public safety, law enforcement officials said Thursday. But Democrats said it would reopen the fractious debate over whether states can be trusted to investigate a person's citizenship status without engaging in racial profiling. Those contrasting opinions were the focus of a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday about the Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement Act sponsored by Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina. LINK

INTELLIGENCE The Boston Globe's Julia Edwards and Noah Bierman: " Lawmakers miss briefings on intelligence" It was a striking moment when Senator Susan Collins said this week that she was surprised to learn that government spies were routinely collecting telephone records from ordinary citizens, echoing a common refrain on Capitol Hill. "The first I heard of the program was when it broke in the news," the Maine Republican said. But Collins is one of the few Americans who could have demanded more details. She serves on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, with access to classified briefings. And although she joined the committee only this year, she was, like all members of the Senate, eligible to attend or request off-the-record sessions. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEO " Piecing Together Edward Snowden" LINK

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