House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. James Comer has asked Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to explain to the American people the use of American weapons by Hamas in its guerrilla war against Israel.
The letter asks Austin to appear on before the committee to discuss reports that U.S. arms are making their way into the hands of terrorists around the world.
Comer of Kentucky and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia opened a probe into the Department of Defense’s processes and policies to ensure that American military aid and weapons are properly distributed and used abroad.
“The Committee is concerned by reports that Hamas and other terrorist organizations may have obtained American-made weapons,” wrote the lawmakers. “Recently released photos show Hamas terrorists allegedly holding what appear to be M4A1 Carbines, which were specially designed for U.S. Special Operations Forces. This would not be the first time our military service members and allies have been targeted by terrorist organizations misappropriating American-made weapons.”
Previously, the Central Intelligence Agency reportedly provided Stinger Anti-Aircraft Missiles to the Afghan Mujahideen, which were later obtained and utilized by the Taliban. More recently, the Taliban released videos and photographs in 2021 of their members flying a U.S. UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter.
A recent Defence Intelligence of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine report alleges that Russian intelligence has repurposed weapons seized during the Ukraine-Russia war, which were manufactured in the United States and the European Union.
An Israel Defense Forces commander echoed concerns in June 2023, stating that Palestinian groups in the Gaza strip possessed U.S. weapons seized by the Taliban during the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021.
“The Committee seeks transparency as to how the DoD ensures that military aid, including American-made small arms, are being carefully distributed, safeguarded, and tracked abroad to prevent further incidents,” Comer and Greene’s letter said. “The potential possession of U.S. weapons by terrorists is alarming in light of the terrorist group’s recent horrific attack on Israel. Therefore, the Committee seeks a staff briefing on DoD procedures for preventing, addressing, and mitigating weapon diversion abroad.”
Read the letter to Secretary Austin here.