(IntegrityPress.org) – House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner (R-OH) blasted the Biden administration for its failure to secure the early release of Americans still held by Hamas and taken hostage during its October 7th surprise attack on southern Israel.
His comments came on NBC News’ “Meet The Press” on November 26th. News broke over the weekend that Israel and Hamas had reached an agreement to begin to release hostages in waves.
Turner expressed concern that Hamas was withholding US hostages to be used as bargaining chips down the line. He found the idea that we were sending US-sponsored aid into Gaza as part of the deal offensive, suggesting that we should not be sending aid into Gaza without getting all our people out first.
He also pointed out that there was incomplete information regarding the number of US citizens and dual citizens still being held by Hamas, suggesting it could be as many as ten people, but qualifying his comments with uncertainty. He further suggested the Biden administration should be aware of the precise number of Americans being held hostage before making deals with Hamas.
Turner also expressed his concerns that Iran was using this as an opportunity to engage in proxy warfare against the US. US bases and assets in the region have come under increased attack from drones and rockets in the weeks following the surprise attack and Israel’s retaliation.
He further chastised the Biden administration for taking credit and doing a victory lap while hostages are still being held by Hamas and there’s a good deal of uncertainty about their future.
As part of the deal the Red Cross is supposed to be getting access to the hostages to determine their identities, condition, and precise number, Turner said. The current hostage lists are based on who’s missing.
Host Kristen Welker asked Turner about the public release of intelligence that may offer transparency and justify bombing hospitals like Al-Shifa, which Israel claims was a terrorist stronghold. He suggested that releasing information during a hot war was tricky due to the potential to influence events on the ground.
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