(Abu Dhabi)  --  Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says the U.S. intelligence community believes the Syrian government used chemical weapons against rebels in that country.  During an overseas trip, Hagel said it's believed the Syrian government used sarin gas on a small scale.  Sarin is a type of nerve gas that can kill in about a minute.  The White House said the intelligence isn't absolutely confirmed yet, and more information is needed to determine the facts. 

Hagel said the intelligence community will need to find out whether sarin was used and the circumstances of that use.  Senator John McCain, who has long pushed for action against the Syrian government, said he thinks it's clear the red line has been crossed.  Syria has been fighting with rebels since mid 2011.  The fighting is considered a part of the Arab Spring that led to revolutions in Egypt, Libya and other countries.