FILE - Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, left, talks to Czech former President Vaclav Havel, right, at the opening night of the 11th Forum 2000 Conference in Prague, in this Oct. 7, 2007 file photo. Havel, the dissident playwright who wove theater into politics to peacefully bring down communism in Czechoslovakia and become a hero of the epic struggle that ended the Cold War, died Sunday Dec. 18, 2011 in Prague. He was 75. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek) Former U.S. secretary of state Madeleine Albright talks to former Czech President Vaclav Havel  at a conference in Prague in  2007. (Petr David Josek/AP)

Former secretary of state Madeleine Albright has added her voice to the debate on Syria, urging Congress to grant President Obama the authority to conduct limited military strikes in retaliation for chemical weapons attacks.

The "risks of complacency and inaction far outweigh those of the limited, but purposeful, response now contemplated," Albright said in a statement. "The dangers of this world will only deepen if aggressors believe that global norms have no meaning and that gross violations can be carried out with impunity."

Albright, 76, served as the United States' top diplomat from 1997-2001 in the Clinton administration, during a time when the U.S. and NATO used punishing airstrikes to help turn the tide of civil strife in Kosovo.

She issued her statement hours after Obama laid out his case for action during a news conference in St. Petersburg,  where he had been attending the G-20 economic summit.

Obama administration officials are briefing Congress, whose members are largely opposed to U.S. military engagement in Syria, despite evidence that President Bashar al-Assad's regime apparently used chemical weapons to kill hundreds of people.

"Assad has gambled that he can get away with slaughtering his own people by barbaric means; that is a gamble he cannot be allowed to win," Albright said in the statement released by her consulting company.