Republican Rep. Mike Turner, the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee last weekend expressed concern over the Biden administration’s negotiations with Qatar to secure a temporary ceasefire in Gaza to exchange hostages for Hamas prisoners in Israel, the Washington Examiner reported.
While appearing on the November 26 broadcast of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Turner was asked by host Kristen Welker if he was concerned that Hamas was holding off on releasing the Americans being held hostage in Gaza to use them as “bargaining chips.”
Turner acknowledged that it concerned him that the administration did not make it a condition for Hamas to release Americans in the first round, particularly since the United States is providing the humanitarian aid flowing into Gaza are part of the ceasefire agreement.
Turner added that it was also concerning that National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan claimed to know “every detail” about what is happening in Gaza while simultaneously saying that he doesn’t know if the American hostages are even still alive.
Turner also suggested that Iran views the war in Gaza as a proxy war with Israel and the West and said the administration must increase its protection of American forces in the region who have faced at least 70 attacks from Iranian-backed militias in Syria and Iraq since October 17.
On November 26, Hamas released the first American hostage, 4-year-old Abigail Mor Edan.
Edan, the youngest US citizen captured by Hamas on October 7, was among the 17 hostages released in the third round on November 26 that included 14 Israeli citizens and three foreign nationals. Edan holds dual citizenship from the United States and Israel.
The temporary ceasefire to exchange hostages for Hamas prisoners in Israel began on Friday, November 24, and ended abruptly on Friday, December 1, after Hamas fired a rocket toward Israel just one hour before the 7:00 a.m. ceasefire deadline.