House GOP Questions Hamas about their US Weapons

House Republicans have reached out to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, seeking a briefing on the Department of Defense’s vigilance in monitoring the transfer of U.S. weaponry to Hamas, which has been used in attacks against Israel. The request was made in a letter written by House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer of Kentucky and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia.

In their letter, Comer and Greene have urged Austin to appear before Capitol Hill for a briefing, especially in light of reports suggesting that U.S.-made arms are finding their way into the hands of terrorist groups, including Hamas. These reports have raised concerns about the potential diversion and resale of U.S. weapons in secondary markets for illicit purposes.

The letter also seeks clarification on the Department of Defense’s procedures for preventing, addressing, and mitigating the diversion of weapons abroad. This move comes after incidents where U.S.-manufactured weapons, such as M-16 rifles, have been used by Hamas against the Israel Defense Forces. There have also been allegations that Russia is supplying Hamas with U.S. trophy weapons obtained from conflicts in Ukraine.

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene has emphasized the need for collaboration between the U.S. and Israel to track the serial numbers of U.S. weapons used by Hamas, with suspicions that these weapons may have originated from Ukraine or Afghanistan.

These concerns trace back to the aftermath of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021 when significant amounts of military equipment were left behind, falling into the hands of the Taliban. This situation drew heavy criticism as it inadvertently turned the Taliban into arms dealers. In contrast, the U.S. has been actively providing military assistance to Ukraine, totaling over $45 billion, in response to the Russian invasion. House Republicans are determined not to repeat the mistakes of Afghanistan.

The State Department has acknowledged the risk of weapons diversion and has stated that they are taking proactive measures to mitigate this risk, particularly in cooperation with Ukraine. Comer and Greene’s letter seeks to gain insight into the specific steps being taken to address this concern.

In summary, House Republicans are requesting a briefing from the Department of Defense to ensure proper oversight of U.S. weaponry and to prevent its unintended use by terrorist organizations like Hamas. Their primary goal is to understand the procedures in place to prevent weapon diversion and protect U.S. interests abroad.