Press Releases

WASHINGTON – As conflict in the Middle East continues as a direct result of the violent and horrific terrorist attacks by Hamas, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, is pushing the Biden Administration to ensure that the U.S. response includes efforts to address emergency needs in Gaza, curb crypto-financed terrorism, and continue supporting the release of American hostages.

In a letter to the U.S. Department of State, Sen. Warner and a number of his colleagues stressed the dire situation of more than one million people who have fled the violence and are in need of lifesaving humanitarian assistance as Gaza is predicted to run out of food and water within days.

Sen. Warner and his colleagues wrote, “The United Nations estimates that Gaza will run out of food and water within days. Healthcare facilities are overwhelmed, running desperately short on supplies and impacted by the lack of electricity. The humanitarian needs on the ground have dramatically increased over the past week, and conditions will likely continue to deteriorate in the days and weeks ahead.”

Urging Secretary of State Blinken to provide strong U.S. funding towards the United Nation’s request for $294 million in needed assistance, they continued, “Displaced people around the world depend on lifesaving humanitarian assistance from the UN and its partners to feed their families, receive medical treatment, and secure shelter. The United States should continue its steadfast support for Israel while also doing our part to help the UN assist innocent civilians as they flee the violence.”

In a separate letter to the White House and the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Sen. Warner and a group of colleagues highlighted alarming reports that Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) skirted U.S. sanctions and funded their operations through the use of cryptocurrency. Specifically, they noted that the two groups raised over $130 million in crypto and moved millions of dollars among each other. They also requested answers to a number of questions pertaining to the Administration’s plan to prevent the use of crypto for the financing of terrorism.

Sen. Warner and his colleagues wrote, “That the deadly attack by Hamas on Israeli civilians comes as the group has become ‘one of the most sophisticated crypto users in the terror-finance domain’ clarifies the national security threat crypto poses to the U.S., and our allies. Congress and this Administration must take strong action to thoroughly address crypto illicit finance risks before it can be used to finance another tragedy. As Congress considers legislative proposals designed to mitigate crypto money laundering and illicit finance risks, we urge you to swiftly and categorically act to meaningfully curtail illicit crypto activity and protect our national security and that of our allies.”

In a third letter, Sen. Warner joined a group of colleagues in urging President Biden to build on steps he has already taken, and do everything possible to support the safe release of the Americans currently held hostage by Hamas.

Sen. Warner and his colleagues wrote, “Hamas has already killed 30 Americans and likely injured many more. We agree with your labeling of Hamas’s immoral attacks as an ‘act of sheer evil,’ and a ‘violation of every code of human morality.’ The terrorists responsible for these atrocities hide behind human shields while they threaten to livestream the execution of hostages.”

They continued, “As a result, we urge the United States to continue supporting Israel’s urgent efforts to dismantle the threat of Hamas, provide the necessary resources for Israel’s defense, and continue offering whatever support necessary to immediately and safely rescue kidnapped Americans, with particular attention to those who require urgent medical care. Lastly, many families are painfully waiting for any update on the health of their loved ones who have been taken hostage. We urge you to encourage our allies and partners in the region to place pressure on Hamas to allow the International Committee of the Red Cross to have access to the hostages while the United States and Israel work to secure their release.”