House Republicans on Thursday sent letters to the heads of four major media outlets, including CNN and The New York Times, demanding answers about contracting with six freelance photojournalists who were embedded with Hamas beginning on Oct. 7, when the terrorists attacked Israel.
Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Ga., penned the letter that was signed by 14 other House Republicans, vowing that "congressional committees ... will use ... oversight authority to fully investigate."
At issue for the lawmakers is that the Times, CNN, The Associated Press, and Reuters published "appalling images" taken by Hassan Eslaiah, Yousef Masoud, Ali Mahmud, Hatem Ali, Mohammed Fayq Abu Mostafa, and Yasser Qudih "of civilians ruthlessly murdered."
Also at issue is the timing of when the six became engaged with Hamas terrorists, an issue raised by media watchdog Honest Reporting, which questioned why the photojournalists all just happened to be present at the start "on what would ordinarily have been a quiet Saturday morning."
"Their early morning presence at the breached border raises serious ethical questions about whether they had advance knowledge of Hamas' plan and not only failed to alert authorities, but even joined the attackers, as evidenced by photographs purportedly showing a photojournalist wielding weapons alongside terrorists. This potentially implicates them as accomplices in war crimes and crimes against humanity in violation of international law and human rights conventions," Clyde's letter read.
The letter comes three days after 15 state attorneys general sent a letter to executives of those same media companies — CNN, The New York Times, The Associated Press, and Reuters — expressing similar concerns.
"Supporting Hamas in any way is reprehensible. We, the chief legal officers of our respective States, also remind you that providing material support to terrorists and terror organizations is a crime," read the letter spearheaded by Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird.
Eslaiah, in particular, raised suspicions after a photo surfaced — found by Honest Reporting and since deleted — of him and Hamas leader and Oct. 7 mastermind Yahya Sinwar, who's kissing Eslaiah on the cheek.
"Photos have surfaced of some photojournalists posing for selfies with Hamas terrorists, and another purported CNN photographer was pictured on his own social media account holding a grenade as he joins Hamas terrorists on the October 7 massacre," Clyde wrote. "This raises alarming questions about whether they coordinated with Hamas in advance or had prior knowledge of the imminent attack."
The lawmakers want answers to eight questions by Dec. 22, adding that "we will not rule out subpoenas if the requested information is not provided promptly."
Mark Swanson ✉
Mark Swanson, a Newsmax writer and editor, has nearly three decades of experience covering news, culture and politics.
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