GOP Reps to Navy Secretary on Iran Seizing Sailors: Feds Should Apologize to the American People

By Penny Starr | January 15, 2016 | 4:36pm EST

(AP photo.) 

( – In a letter sent to the Secretary of the Navy on Friday, six House Republicans want answers about the seizure of U.S. Navy sailors on Tuesday, and the document says that rather than apologizing to the Islamic Republic of Iran for entering its waters, U.S. officials should apologize to the American people for allowing service members to be put in harm’s way.

The letter to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus expresses “deep concern” about the incident and refers to a statement by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC) that said State Department officials had apologized and vowed “not to repeat such mistakes.”

“The only apology … that should have been made by U.S. officials should have been directed to the American people for allowing our Navy sailors to fall into the hands of Iranian forces,” the letter states.

“Iran’s actions raise serious questions regarding the potential compromise of our national security,” the letter states. “We are concerned that Iranian officials may have gained access to technology and manuals aboard U.S. Naval ships.”

“Additionally, Iranian officials may have interrogated our sailors for intelligence regarding Navy operations in the Persian Gulf.”

The letter asks Secretary Mabus to answer a long list of questions, including whether the sailors’ vessels were actually in Iranian waters when they were seized; who authorized the decision to surrender the ships to Iranian authorities; why was that decision made; did the Iranians follow protocol; and has that protocol changed since the U.S. finalized a nuclear agreement with Iran last year.

(Photo: Sepahnews/AP)

“Photos and video released by the IRGC showing Navy personnel blindfolded or kneeling on decks with their hands behind their heads, and of a U.S. sailor apologizing to the IRGC, raise serious questions regarding the potential compromise of our national security,” Rep. Fleming (R-La.), who spearheaded the letter, said in a statement.

“While the administration is still claiming a diplomatic win in the situation, it is a major security blunder and sends the wrong message to Iran,” Fleming said. “Once again, this President is more interested in protecting Islam than protecting Americans.” 

The letter was signed by six Republican lawmakers – Fleming and Reps. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.), Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) and Steve Russell (R-Okla.).

All of the representatives except Russell are on the House Armed Services Committee and Brooks also serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Russell serves on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

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