Citing reports that advanced U.S.-made firearms have ended up in the possession of the Hamas terrorist group in Gaza, several House Oversight Committee Republicans are demanding answers from the Pentagon about what's being done to ensure that American-made weapons don't end up in the wrong hands.
Mr. Comer and Ms. Greene cited a series of media reports indicating that U.S.-made weapons were being diverted and ending up in the hands of terrorists.
One source of the U.S.-made weapons is reportedly the roughly $7 billion stockpile left behind in the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan. Another is related to arms that the United States is providing to Ukraine amid its war with Russia but are being diverted to the Middle East by various actors, including gun-smuggling criminal groups.
"The potential possession of U.S. weapons by terrorists is alarming in light of the terrorist group's recent horrific attack on Israel," the lawmakers wrote, referring to the Oct. 7 assault by Hamas operatives that killed about 1,400 Israelis, mostly civilians—many of them in barbaric fashion.
In their letter, they demanded a staff briefing from the Pentagon by the end of October on what procedures the Department of Defense (DoD) has in place "for preventing, addressing, and mitigating weapon diversion abroad."
DOD officials didn't respond by press time to a request for comment.
'Arsenal of Anarchy'
"We are very worried that some of these capabilities are going to fall to Hezbollah and Hamas' hands," the IDF commander told the publication.
When the war ends, "Ukraine's battlefields could and will become the new arsenal of anarchy, arming everyone from insurgents in Africa to gangsters in the streets of Europe," the report's authors warned in a statement.
While it's impossible to tell without further investigation where the weapons are coming from, it's been alleged that some U.S.-made weapons are finding their way to Gaza and into the hands of Hamas.
In their letter, the GOP lawmakers said that "recently released photos show Hamas terrorists allegedly holding what appear to be M4A1 Carbines," a type of weapon that they note is 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," the lawmakers wrote, citing the massive arsenal that ended up in the hands of the Taliban.
Taliban Seized US Weapons, EquipmentWhen U.S. forces withdrew from Afghanistan in the summer of 2021, billions of dollars of American-made weapons and equipment fell into the hands of the Taliban.
"We have already seen Taliban fighters armed with U.S.-made weapons they seized from the Afghan forces," Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), the current House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman, told Reuters in an email last year. "This poses a significant threat to the United States and our allies,"
Weapons left behind by U.S. forces during the Afghanistan withdrawal have made their way into other conflict zones, including in India-controlled Kashmir, which some terrorist groups are trying to annex for Pakistan, Lt. Col. Emron Musavi, an Indian army spokesperson, told CNBC in an email last year.
“It can be safely assumed that they have access to the weapons left behind,” he told the outlet, amid reports that operatives from Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Taiba, two Pakistan-based groups that have been designated by the United States as terrorist organizations, had been spotted with U.S.-made arms, including M4s and M16s.
Demands for OversightThe letter from Mr. Comer and Ms. Greene isn't the first time that GOP lawmakers have pressed the Pentagon about U.S.-made weapons falling into the wrong hands. Shortly after the Afghanistan withdrawal, several Republican senators demanded that the DoD provide a full accounting of the weapons and equipment that had been captured.
“Securing U.S. assets should have been among the top priorities for the U.S. Department of Defense prior to announcing the withdrawal from Afghanistan.”