FIRST ON FOX – Rep. Anthony D’Esposito, R-N.Y., torched what he categorized as the Biden administration furthering an “anti-American agenda” in a fiery letter addressed to Secretary of State Antony Blinken Tuesday, a day after a $6 billion deal with Iran was announced to Congress on the 22nd anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.
D’Esposito, who sits on the House Homeland Security Committee, wrote to Blinken “to express my opposition to the Department of State’s agreement with Iran that included the unfreezing of $6 billion, which was notified to Congress on September 11th, 2023, and urge the Department of State to reconsider.”
“The decision to issue sanction waivers and allow the transfer of these frozen Iranian funds is both deeply troubling and detrimental to our national security,” the first-term congressman wrote in the letter obtained by Fox News Digital.
“Your own department’s most recent ‘Country Reports on Terrorism 2021’ stated that ‘Iran continued to be the leading state sponsor of terrorism, facilitating a wide range of terrorist and other illicit activities around the world,'” D’Esposito said. “The report goes on to detail how Iran uses a global procurement network to bolster its military capabilities and support terrorist activities globally. Allowing Iran access to this $6 billion only further enables the country to facilitate terrorism throughout the Middle East and around the world.”
Chairman Anthony D’Esposito, R-N.Y., speaks during the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emergency Management and Technology hearing Thursday, July 13, 2023.(Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
D’Esposito said it was “even more disconcerting” that Congress was notified of the Biden Administration’s deal with Iran on the 22nd anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
“I was ashamed that President Biden broke tradition by becoming the first sitting President not to visit a memorial site on September 11th. To then announce such a deal on the solemn day in which we remember the nearly 3,000 victims of the largest terrorist attack on U.S. soil is shameful,” the congressman added.
“The agreement with Iran, paired with the timing of the deal, is further proof of this Administration’s commitment to an anti-American agenda,” D’Esposito added. “While I appreciate the Administration prioritizing the release of wrongfully detained Americans abroad, we should not be negotiating in a way that leaves all Americans less safe. This agreement is insulting to the American people and a threat to our national security. I urge the Department of State not to unfreeze $6 billion and instead focus on policies that make every American more safe.”
Family members of 9 /11 victims visit the 9/11 Memorial & Museum in New York City on Sept.11, 2023, the 22nd anniversary of the 2001 terror attacks.(Fatih Aktas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Congress was first notified Monday that Blinken signed off on a blanket waiver for international banks to transfer $6 billion in frozen Iranian funds from South Korea to Qatar without fear of U.S. sanctions. The White House billed the move as a “procedural step” toward fulfilling a tentative deal reached with Iran in August for the release of five “wrongfully held Americans.”
Monday marked the first time the Biden administration confirmed it would release five Iranian prisoners, who have yet to be named. Congressional Republicans skewered the agreement, arguing the deal will bolster the Iranian economy at a time when the regime poses an increasing threat to U.S. troops and allies in the Middle East.
Rep. Anthony D’Esposito and other members of Congress from New York gather at the U.S. Capitol on Feb. 28, 2023, regarding funding for 9/11 first responders.(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Tuesday’s letter comes the same day D’Esposito, as chairman of the House Subcommittee on Emergency Management and Technology, will hold a field hearing at the 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York City. The hearing aims to “examine our nation’s evolving threat landscape over two decades after the September 11th terrorist attacks as well as state, local, and federal coordination efforts for national emergencies,” according to the congressman’s office.
Fox News Digital learned in advance that NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism Rebecca Weiner, FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh, Nassau County Police Department Commissioner Patrick Ryder, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Chief Security Officer Greg Ehrie are among the witnesses expected to testify.
Danielle Wallace is a reporter for Fox News Digital covering politics, crime, police and more. Story tips can be sent to [email protected] and on Twitter: @danimwallace.