Sec. of State Defends Decision To Sidestep Congress

Secretary of State Antony Blinken last weekend defended the State Department’s decision to bypass Congress and approve an emergency sale of tank ammunition to Israel, insisting that Israel’s need to defend itself against Hamas justified the urgency, The Hill reported.

Last Saturday, the State Department approved the emergency sale of nearly 14,000 rounds of tank shells worth over $106 million.

The State Department said Congress was notified of the sale on December 8 after Secretary Blinken determined that an emergency existed requiring “the immediate sale” of the tank cartridges in the interest of US national security.

By authorizing the emergency sale, the State Department bypassed the congressional review requirement for the sale of military supplies to a foreign country. While such a determination is rare, it is not unprecedented, particularly when an administration sees the need as urgent.

While appearing on ABC News’s “This Week,” host Martha Raddatz asked Blinken why the administration chose to move forward with the sale of the ammunition without a congressional review.

The Secretary of State explained that with weapons transfers, there are rules that apply to every country, including Israel. The rules include how the weapons will be used and why they are needed to ensure that they are “respecting international humanitarian law.”

However, in the case of the tank ammunition, Israel is currently “in combat” with Hamas which “viciously attacked” Israel on October 7, Blinken explained. He said Hamas would “repeat” the October 7 attacks “again and again and again” if given the chance, therefore, the administration wanted to ensure that Israel has the weapons it needed “to defend itself against Hamas.”

Blinken noted that the tank ammunition is only a “small portion” of what Israel had requested and said the rest would go through congressional review.

The sale, which will come from US Army inventory, is for 13,981 120mm high explosive anti-tank multi-purpose tank cartridges with tracers.