House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner (R-OH) raised concerns over the weekend about the way that the Biden administration has gone about conducting negotiations with Qatar as it seeks the release of numerous Americans who were taken hostage by Hamas terrorists last month.
Turner made the remarks during a Sunday interview on NBC News’ “Meet The Press” with host Kristen Welker as some of the more than 240 Israeli hostages have started to be released.
“Speaking of the perils here, do you have any concerns that Hamas is delaying the release of American citizens to use them effectively as bargaining chips, Congressman?” Welker asked.
“Exactly, which is why I’m concerned that the Biden administration didn’t make it a condition of this deal that Americans be in the first hostages that are released, especially since American aid is going into Gaza right now, into northern Gaza as part of the conditions that Hamas had,” Turner said. “I think, you know, when the administration says they know every detail and then tell you that they don’t even know if they’re alive, that is certainly concerning.”
Turner also said that Iran, which funds Hamas, views the war as a proxy war against the United States and the West.
He said that the Biden administration needed to step up their protection of U.S. forces stationed in the region after they have come under repeated attack from Iranian-backed proxy groups.
“I do think that the administration should step up its effort in protecting our own troops in Syria and Iraq who have been subject to attacks from Iranian proxies,” he said. “These are absolutely Iranian franchises funded, trained and stood up as terrorist organizations to attack the West.”