The House Oversight Committee’s Republican members have called on Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to clarify reports indicating that Hamas and the Russian military have obtained weapons manufactured in the U.S.
In a letter, GOP Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and James Comer expressed their concern over the redistribution and resale of American weapons in secondary markets to terrorist groups, specifically mentioning Hamas. “The potential possession of U.S. weapons by terrorists is alarming in light of the terrorist group’s recent horrific attack on Israel.” They emphasized the urgency of the matter, referencing a recent severe attack by Hamas on Israel.
The lawmakers requested a staff briefing on the Department of Defense’s strategies for preventing, addressing, and mitigating the risk of weapon diversion abroad. They pointed out the incident on October 7, where Hamas launched an attack on Israeli soil, taking more than 199 hostages and causing numerous civilian casualties. This attack led to retaliatory strikes by Israel on the Gaza Strip, escalating the conflict.
Greene and Comer brought attention to intelligence reports suggesting that Russian forces have captured and repurposed Western weapons from Ukrainian forces in Eastern Europe. They also raised concerns about the possibility of Palestinians acquiring American equipment left behind in Afghanistan.
The letter highlighted the need for accountability and safeguarding of U.S. funding and weaponry amidst global conflicts. The Committee expressed concern over recent images showing Hamas terrorists allegedly holding M4A1 Carbines, weapons specifically designed for U.S. Special Operations Forces.
The letter also referenced historical instances where weapons supplied by the U.S. to supposed allies ended up in the hands of enemies, citing the example of the CIA arming Mujahideen fighters in Afghanistan during the Soviet-Afghan War, only for those weapons to later be acquired by the Taliban.
The chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021 also resulted in the Taliban seizing a significant amount of military hardware. Additionally, Comer and Greene tweeted photographs and videos from 2021 showing Taliban fighters flying a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter.
On the “Just the News, No Noise” television show, Comer expressed his expectation that the Department of Defense would provide clear answers regarding the weapons in question. “This shouldn’t be a hard question to answer. Are any of the weapons that are being used against Israel now weapons that were ours at one point or, you know, weapons that Russia is using against Ukraine?” He emphasized the need for an inventory of weapons to track those that may have been misplaced, left behind, or stolen, highlighting the importance of accountability and transparency in these matters.
Comer said they still have not gotten a full accounting of what was left behind in Afghanistan and that he knows a lot of military weapons were left behind and have been sold by the Taliban. Did they sell them to Hamas? Or were they given by the Russians from the war in Ukraine?
The Republican members of the House Oversight Committee are pressing the Pentagon for answers and accountability regarding reports of U.S.-manufactured weapons ending up in the hands of Hamas and the Russian military, emphasizing the need for stringent measures to prevent weapon diversion and ensure transparency.