Rep. Omar Leads Letter to Secretaries Esper and Pompeo on Recently Announced Arms Sales

June 10, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON—Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) led a letter to Secretary Mark Esper and Secretary Michael Pompeo today calling for the Administration to provide a briefing for members on the justifications of the recently announced arms sales to the Philippines, Egypt, India, Hungary, and the United Arab Emirates. The letter also calls for a hold on all arms sales until Congress has the opportunity to review them carefully. 

“Our nation is currently facing unrest due to the unjust killing of George Floyd,” said Rep. Omar. “Instead of deescalation, we have seen a militarized response from law enforcement—heightening tension and increasing violence. Just as we must end the militarization of police here at home, it is imperative we aren’t exporting violence to people abroad without the proper review of each of these arms sales. Many of these countries have raised serious concerns regarding human rights violations in their countries. We must put a hold on all arms sales until Congress has the chance to review each of these sales carefully.” 

The arms sales are exporting violence to countries without thorough oversight from Congress. The Administration has been going forward with billions of dollars of controversial arms sales to countries that raise serious human rights concerns with insufficient input from Congress. In the cases of Egypt and India, there are also potential issues related to the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act. Additionally, the United Arab Emirates faces credible allegations of misusing American weapons by transferring them to terrorist groups in Yemen, and of violating arms embargoes in Libya.

The letter was signed by Rep. Earl Blumenauer, Rep. André Carson, Rep. Jesús G. “Chuy” García, Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, Rep. Deb Haaland, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy, III, Rep. Barbara Lee, Rep. Andy Levin, Rep. Ted W. Lieu, Rep. Alan Lowenthal, Rep. Tom Malinowski, Rep. James P. McGovern, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rep. Mark Pocan, Rep. Jamie Raskin, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, and Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez. 

A PDF of the letter can be found here, and the full text of the letter is below.

 

Secretary Mark T. Esper                                                         Secretary Michael R. Pompeo            

U.S. Department of Defense                                                   U.S. Department of State

1400 Defense Pentagon                                                          2201 C Street NW

Washington, D.C. 20301                                                        Washington, D.C. 20520

 

Dear Secretary Esper and Secretary Pompeo,

We are writing to express our serious concern about seven proposed arms sales that have been publicly noticed by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency between April 13, 2020 and May 8, 2020.[1]

There are grave human rights concerns that should be taken into consideration with all seven proposed sales. In the cases of Egypt and India, there are also potential issues related to the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act. With the United Arab Emirates, there are serious allegations of end use monitoring violations and the possible use of U.S.-origin military equipment in violation of arms embargoes and both U.S. and international law in Yemen, Sudan, Syria, and Libya.

It is imperative that Congress is able to engage in its proper oversight role over these sales. As you are both well aware, the COVID-19 crisis has meant that both the House of Representatives and the Senate have spent long periods out of session, that regular committee business has not been possible, and that Members have not had access to classified materials or briefings that may help them understand these sales. 

We request, therefore, at the earliest possible time, a briefing on the impetus for the above-mentioned sales, in a classified setting if necessary, to include explanations for the way the Administration plans to address human rights, CAATSA, and end use monitoring concerns. We additionally ask that you put these possible sales on hold until Congress has had the opportunity to review them carefully and thoroughly so that we may conduct our oversight role and consider legislative options. 

Sincerely,         

           

Ilhan Omar      

Member of Congress                                                  

Additional Signatories

 

Rep. Earl Blumenauer

Rep. André Carson

Rep. Jesús G. “Chuy” García

Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva

Rep. Deb Haaland

Rep. Pramila Jayapal

Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy, III

Rep. Barbara Lee

Rep. Andy Levin

Rep. Ted W. Lieu

Rep. Alan Lowenthal

Rep. Tom Malinowski

Rep. James P. McGovern

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Rep. Mark Pocan

Rep. Jamie Raskin

Rep. Rashida Tlaib

Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez

 

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[1]These are:

  •  The possible sale to India of sixteen MK 54 All Up Round Lightweight Torpedoes (LWT), three MK 54 All Up Exercise Torpedoes and related equipment noticed on April 13; 
  • The possible sale to India of ten AGM-84L Harpoon Block II air launched missiles and related equipment noticed on April 13; 
  • The possible sale to the Philippines of six AH-1Z attack helicopters and related equipment noticed on April 30; 
  • The possible sale to the Philippines of six AH-64E Apache attack helicopters and related equipment noticed on April 30; 
  • The possible sale to Egypt of equipment to refurbish 43 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters; 
  • The possible sale to the United Arab Emirates of up to 4,569 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) Vehicles noticed on May 7; 
  • The possible sale to Hungary of sixty AIM-120C-7/C-8 AMRAAM­ER missiles, and two spare AIM-120C-7/C-8 AMRAAM-ER guidance sections and related equipment noticed on May 8.