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Biden Administration

REPORT: U.S. quietly facilitated over 100 arms sales to Israel without approval of Congress



The United States has approved and delivered on more than 100 arms sales to Israel since October 7, U.S. officials recently told Congress in a classified briefing, according to a Washington Post report on Wednesday.

The report, citing unnamed US officials, revealed that thousands of precision-guided munitions, small-diameter bombs, and other weapons were sold. These sales didn’t require prior approval from Congress as each fell below the minimum amount for consideration. Former Biden administration official Jeremy Konyndyk, speaking to the Washington Post, suggested that the high volume of sales in a short period indicates Israel’s reliance on U.S. support for its operations against Hamas in Gaza. Konyndyk, now president of Refugees International, urged the U.S. to leverage weapons sales to pressure Israel into accepting a ceasefire in Gaza.

State Department spokesman Matt Miller told the Washington Post that the Biden administration has “followed the procedures Congress itself has specified to keep members well-informed, and regularly briefs members even when formal notification is not a legal requirement.”

U.S. officials have “engaged Congress” on arms deliveries to Israel “more than 200 times” since October, Miller said.

The report said a senior State Department official declined to provide the total number of all US weapons transferred to Israel, or their costs, since Oc tober 7, but said they include new sales and “active” foreign military sales or FMSs.

“These are items that are typical for any modern military, including one that is as sophisticated as Israel’s,” the official said.

In a Wednesday column, David Ignatius of the Washington Post reported that the U.S. is contemplating measures to prevent Israel from deploying American arms in an anticipated offensive in Rafah, a southern city in Gaza where over half of the territory’s population has sought refuge during the conflict. The U.S. has emphasized that Israel must demonstrate a strategy to safeguard civilians before initiating a ground operation in Rafah. While Israel has committed to evacuating residents, it has not finalized its military strategy or disclosed relocation plans for civilians.

Ignatius wrote that US President Joe Biden and other officials “haven’t made any decision about imposing ‘conditionality’ on US weapons. But the very fact that officials seem to be debating this extreme step shows the administration’s growing concern about the crisis in Gaza.”

“If Israel launches an offensive in Rafah without adequately protecting the displaced civilian population, it may precipitate an unprecedented crisis in US-Israel relations, even involving arms supplies,” former US ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk was quoted as saying in the column.

Democratic lawmakers are urging the Biden administration to pressure Israel into alleviating the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza. Some are considering withholding approved military aid if conditions for civilians do not improve. Senator Chris Van Hollen emphasized the need for leveraging all available influence, urging the administration to hold back military assistance unless Israel takes steps to facilitate aid shipments into Gaza.

Israeli claims that aid deliveries are hindered by logistical issues have been met with skepticism. The White House has refrained from imposing conditions on aid to Israel, prompting concerns among lawmakers about the escalating crisis. Discussions of potential actions coincide with President Biden’s upcoming State of the Union address, where policy priorities will be outlined. The possibility of withholding arms sales to Israel under US law is also being considered, though it could spark contentious debates. Additionally, House Democrats have expressed deep concern about the plight of civilians in Gaza, further underscoring the urgency of addressing the humanitarian crisis amid ongoing conflict.

Biden Administration

Pentagon Seeks to Feed Troops ‘Experimental’ Lab-Grown Meat to Reduce CO2 Footprint



The Pentagon has partnered with a company to explore feeding America’s soldiers lab-grown meat in an effort to reduce the carbon footprint at Defense Department outposts. BioMADE, a public-private company with over $500 million in funding from the Defense Department, announced earlier this month that it is seeking proposals for “innovations in food production that reduce the CO2 footprint of food production at … DoD operational environments,” according to an online announcement.

Among these innovations is the development of “novel cell culture methods suitable for the production of cultivated meat/protein,” or lab-grown meat. This type of meat is grown in a laboratory from animal cells using various chemicals and processes. While lab-grown meat remains in its experimental stages, it has become a focal point in discussions about the efficacy and ethics of producing meat without animal slaughter.

BioMADE—which received a $450 million infusion of taxpayer funds earlier this year—asserts that lab-grown food products will help the Pentagon achieve a reduced carbon footprint. This initiative aligns with the Biden administration’s mandate to address climate change and other cultural issues, which critics often label as “woke.”

“Innovations in food production that reduce the CO2 footprint of food production at and/or transport to DoD operational environments are solicited,” the company stated in an informational document and accompanying press release. The proposals could include the production of nutrient-dense military rations via fermentation processes, utilizing one carbon molecule (C1) feedstocks for food production, and novel cell culture methods for cultivated meat/protein.

Additionally, BioMADE is inviting proposals for processes that convert greenhouse gases and projects that develop bioproducts to mitigate environmental impacts both regionally and globally. These include bioproducts to prevent or slow coastal erosion.

Critics argue that U.S. troops should not be test subjects for lab-grown meat products, which are still experimental. Jack Hubbard, executive director at the Center for the Environment and Welfare, a consumer group that analyzes emerging markets such as bioengineered meat, voiced strong opposition.

“Taxpayer dollars should not be used to fund the lab-grown meat sector,” Hubbard said. “Our troops deserve better than to be served lab-grown meat, produced in bioreactors with immortalized cells and chemicals. Unfortunately, this effort is being driven by an agenda that is political and anti-farmer. Our soldiers should never be used as guinea pigs.”

As part of its push to fund “alt-protein projects,” the Pentagon and its partners have made up to $2 million available for such initiatives, according to the publication Alt-Meat.

Supporters of these efforts argue that U.S. national security depends on addressing global change and embracing new technologies like lab-grown meat. Matt Spence, a former Defense Department official, wrote in a 2021 Slate piece that “one of the most immediate, politically feasible, and high-impact ways to do this [address climate change] is for the U.S. government to invest in and accelerate alternative ways to produce meat.”

However, recent studies, including one from the University of California, Davis, suggest that lab-grown meat may have a worse carbon footprint than retail beef. Derrick Risner, a member of UC Davis’s Department of Food Science and Technology, highlighted that “if companies are having to purify growth media to pharmaceutical levels, it uses more resources, which then increases global warming potential. If this product continues to be produced using the ‘pharma’ approach, it’s going to be worse for the environment and more expensive than conventional beef production.”

The Defense Department and BioMADE did not respond to requests for comment from the Washington Free Beacon.

As the debate continues, the Pentagon’s initiative to incorporate lab-grown meat into military diets remains a contentious topic, balancing the promise of technological advancement with concerns over practicality, ethics, and environmental impact.

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Biden Administration

House lawmakers allege that the Biden Administration funded group with Hamas ties to the Oct. 7 attack



Washington, D.C. – House Oversight lawmakers are seeking answers regarding the Biden administration’s decision to fund the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), amid allegations of the agency’s ties to the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel.

House Oversight Committee Chair Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken on June 11, detailing UNRWA’s alleged connections to Hamas, a designated terrorist organization currently engaged in conflict with Israel. The letter expressed concerns over the Biden administration’s decision to restore funding to UNRWA in 2021, reversing a previous suspension of funds.

“As we wrote previously, the Committee is concerned by the Biden Administration’s decision to renew funding for UNRWA. The underlying concerns have not changed,” the letter stated. It further cited reports from February indicating that several UNRWA staff members participated in the October 7, 2023, terrorist attacks by Hamas. Additionally, the letter mentioned recent reports of Hamas compounds located under UNRWA buildings in Gaza City. The previous administration had suspended funding for the agency, deeming it “irredeemably flawed” due to its alleged use of classrooms to promote violence, hate speech, jihad, martyrdom, and antisemitism.

The House Oversight Committee has been requesting information for months but claims to have received an “inadequate” response from the State Department. Israel has also called for the dissolution of the U.N. agency, citing security concerns.

“Rockets have been found on multiple occasions in UNRWA schools,” the letter continued. “Following the October 7 terrorist attacks, there was widespread enthusiasm for the attacks by UNRWA teachers and staff.”

The State Department released a “framework for cooperation” with UNRWA last year, aimed at providing humanitarian assistance and protection to Palestinian refugees. The framework was restarted in 2021 after being halted between 2005 and 2018.

“The United States and UNRWA are jointly committed to addressing the needs of Palestinian refugees through effective provision of humanitarian assistance and protection, and to promoting the enhanced human development potential of Palestinian refugees,” the State Department document stated.

However, lawmakers argue that UNRWA has a “pattern of extremism and antisemitism” and that the State Department has not demonstrated effective oversight of the group. The letter emphasized that the State Department has not adequately explained the decision to renew funding for UNRWA.

“Importantly, the State Department still has not explained why it decided to renew funding to UNRWA,” the letter said. “The list of safeguards and oversight mechanisms provided in your response only underscores the Committee’s initial concerns. Given the Committee’s previously raised concerns regarding the decision to renew cooperation with UNRWA, and the State Department’s failure to comply with the request, we seek information directly from Ms. Valls Noyes.”

The House Oversight Committee is now seeking further evidence from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to verify whether risky experiments were conducted, adding to the scrutiny surrounding the Biden administration’s funding decisions for international aid organizations.

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Biden Administration

House votes to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress



On Wednesday, the House of Representatives voted to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over audio recordings of President Joe Biden’s interviews with former special counsel Robert Hur. These interviews were part of Hur’s investigation into Biden’s handling of classified material, which concluded without charges being brought against the President.

The vote, which was 216 to 207, saw one Republican, Rep. Dave Joyce of Ohio, join Democrats in opposing the resolution. This marks a significant development in a protracted dispute between House Republicans and the executive branch, which escalated after President Biden asserted executive privilege over the recordings.

In a statement following the vote, Garland expressed disappointment, stating, “This House of Representatives has turned a serious congressional authority into a partisan weapon,” and emphasized the need to protect the Justice Department’s investigations and uphold the separation of powers.

With the contempt resolution passed, House Speaker Mike Johnson will certify the report to the United States attorney for the District of Columbia. This certification mandates the US attorney to present the matter to a grand jury, though the Justice Department will ultimately decide whether to prosecute.

This action against Garland builds on Republican allegations that the Justice Department has been weaponized against conservatives, particularly following former President Donald Trump’s conviction in New York for falsifying business records. House Republicans argue that the audio recordings are essential for their impeachment inquiry into President Biden, which has faced challenges and remains uncertain in its outcome.

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise expressed confidence in securing the necessary votes for the contempt resolution, despite some internal concerns among Republicans about the move. Ultimately, the vote proceeded as planned.

Garland, in an op-ed, maintained his stance against what he described as “baseless, personal and dangerous” attacks, reinforcing his commitment to the Justice Department’s integrity.

The conflict over the audio recordings began when Republican-led committees subpoenaed the Justice Department for transcripts, documents, and audio files related to Hur’s investigation. While the department provided transcripts and other materials, it withheld the audio recordings, citing privacy concerns and the potential impact on future cooperation from witnesses.

Republicans argue that the audio recordings offer critical information that transcripts alone cannot provide, particularly in understanding the nuances of Biden’s responses regarding his handling of classified information. They contend that the Justice Department must fully comply with their subpoenas to enable thorough oversight.

House Oversight Chairman James Comer emphasized the necessity of complete compliance with congressional subpoenas, asserting that the executive branch is not above legislative scrutiny.

The Biden administration has questioned the Republicans’ motives, suggesting that the demand for the audio recordings is politically driven. White House Counsel Edward Siskel accused Republicans of intending to distort the recordings for partisan purposes, while DOJ Assistant Attorney General Carlos Uriarte argued that the transcripts should suffice for the committees’ inquiries.

The special counsel report, which highlighted Biden’s age and memory, has become a point of contention as Republicans use these aspects to challenge the President ahead of the upcoming election.

In response to the contempt vote, Democrats criticized their Republican colleagues for what they view as an unwarranted pursuit. Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland stated that there was no legitimate basis for holding Garland in contempt, while Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York accused Republicans of acting in service of Trump’s interests rather than justice.

As this issue continues to unfold, it underscores the ongoing tension between the legislative and executive branches, particularly in matters involving high-stakes political investigations.

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