“The White House Admitted Hamas Is Holding Nearly 500 Americans Hostage in Gaza”: Sen. Marsha Blackburn Calls Out Biden and Jake Sullivan

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) spoke the plain truth about the nearly 500 Americans in Gaza not being allowed to leave by Hamas: They are being held hostage by the Islamist Palestinian terrorist group. The nearly 500 are in addition to the “less than ten” Americans known to have been taken hostage in the October 7 terror attack by Hamas on Israel. The Biden administration has said Hamas has been making demands for their release that the U.S. is not prepared to meet.

Only two American have been allowed to leave Hamas-controlled Gaza since the October 7 attack that saw 1,400 Israelis and 33 Americans killed. Over 200 Israelis and “less than ten” Americans were taken hostage in the attack and are being held by Hamas. Four hostages have been released: the two Americans referenced above and two Israelis. One Israeli was rescued this week by the IDF and Shin Bet.

Posters of kidnapped Israelis being held in Gaza by Hamas, file screen image.

Blackburn posted on X on Tuesday, “White House admitted Hamas is holding nearly 500 Americans hostage in Gaza.”

Blackburn followed with a statement calling on National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan to resign, “Hamas is preventing 500 American citizens from being able to leave Gaza. These Americans are considered hostages under federal law. @JakeSullivan46 needs to resign immediately.”

Blackburn’s office told a reporter she is basing her statement on U.S. law, “White House said yesterday “less than 10” Americans were hostages. Blackburn’s office tells me they consider the 500 Americans who admin says are trapped in Gaza (the “400 American citizens and their families” Blinken referenced) to be hostages. Why? They cite 18 U.S. Code § 1203”

The Department of Justice on 18 U.S. Code § 1203:

In 1984, Congress enacted the hostage taking statute to implement the International Convention Against the Taking of Hostages. The statute became effective on January 6, 1985. Hostage taking is defined as the seizing or detention of an individual coupled with a threat to kill, injure or continue to detain such individual in order to compel a third person or governmental organization to take some action. The United States has jurisdiction over the taking of hostages outside the United States (a) if the perpetrator or a hostage is a United States national, (b) if the perpetrator is found in the United States regardless of his nationality, or (c) if the United States is the Government coerced by the hostage taker. See JM 9-60.700, et seq.

Cornell Law:

18 U.S. Code § 1203 – Hostage taking

(a)Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, whoever, whether inside or outside the United States, seizes or detains and threatens to kill, to injure, or to continue to detain another person in order to compel a third person or a governmental organization to do or abstain from doing any act as an explicit or implicit condition for the release of the person detained, or attempts or conspires to do so, shall be punished by imprisonment for any term of years or for life and, if the death of any person results, shall be punished by death or life imprisonment.
(1)It is not an offense under this section if the conduct required for the offense occurred outside the United States unless—
(A)the offender or the person seized or detained is a national of the United States;
(B)the offender is found in the United States; or
(C)the governmental organization sought to be compelled is the Government of the United States.

(2)It is not an offense under this section if the conduct required for the offense occurred inside the United States, each alleged offender and each person seized or detained are nationals of the United States, and each alleged offender is found in the United States, unless the governmental organization sought to be compelled is the Government of the United States.
(c)As used in this section, the term “national of the United States” has the meaning given such term in section 101(a)(22) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(22)).
(Added Pub. L. 98–473, title II, § 2002(a), Oct. 12, 1984, 98 Stat. 2186; amended Pub. L. 100–690, title VII, § 7028, Nov. 18, 1988, 102 Stat. 4397; Pub. L. 103–322, title VI, § 60003(a)(10), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 1969; Pub. L. 104–132, title VII, § 723(a)(1), Apr. 24, 1996, 110 Stat. 1300.)

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said at a Senate hearing Tuesday that about 400 Americans were trapped in Gaza by Hamas. (ABC News excerpt):

“We’re working on this every single day. We have about 400 American citizens and their family members, so it’s roughly 1,000 people who are stuck in Gaza and want to get out. I’m focused on this intensely,” Blinken said in an exchange with Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., during Tuesday’s testimony before the Senate Committee on Appropriations.

…”The impediment is simple: It’s Hamas. We’ve not yet found a way to get them out by whatever — through whatever place and by whatever means that Hamas is not blocking, but we’re working that with intermediaries,” he continued.

“They are also another roughly 5,000 third-country nationals from other countries seeking to get out,” Blinken added.

State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller signaled during a Tuesday afternoon press conference that the administration might be close to securing safe passage through the Rafah crossing into Egypt for the American citizens trapped in Gaza, saying negotiators “have made good progress on this even in the past few hours” — but stopping just short of making any announcement.

“I will say that we are making very good progress on this issue. You may see have seen some reports that have moved from the region just in the last few hours about the possibility of Rafah gate opening tomorrow,” Miller said, without confirming the reports he mentioned.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said at Monday’s White House briefing that Hamas is making demands in return for allowing Americans to leave Gaza. Kirby acknowledged several hundred Americans were nit being allowed to leave Gaza by Hamas and that “less than ten” Americans were being formally held hostage.

Excerpt from White House transcript of Kirby at Monday’s briefing:

Q Okay. And then, related to that: Rafah Crossing — any new — any updates on getting people out through that corridor?

MR. KIRBY: Unfortunately, no. I mean, but as you heard Jake say yesterday in a var- — various set of interviews that he did, we’re working on this literally by the hour to try to do that. We know we have several hundred Americans that want to get out too, and we’re working on it.


Q At last check, the administration is saying that Hamas was holding that up. Is that still the case? Is — what can you say with what exactly is holding up those negotiations as American families wait to see —

MR. KIRBY: Yeah.

Q — when those Americans are released?

MR. KIRBY: It — it is still the case. They’ve been making a series of demands that we’re not able to accede to. I know you’d like to know what those are, but I think in order to try to make some progress here, we’re going to preserve a little bit of that publicly.

But, yes, Hamas —

Q Is it —

MR. KIRBY: — is still the holdup. Israel was willing to let those Americans out. Egypt is willing to let them come out. The holdup is Hamas.

Q Would you say the biggest sticking point is fuel at this point still?

MR. KIRBY: Again, I — I won’t get into more detail than that.


MS. JEAN-PIERRE: All right. James, in the back, you have the last question.

Q That’s very kind. Thank you very much. Two questions. First, on the hostages. More than three weeks have passed now since the original Hamas attack and the seizure of hostages. How many Americans have you confirmed in that time are actually hostages?

MR. KIRBY: Less than 10.

Q That’s not a number. I want a number from you.

MR. KIRBY: Less than 10.

Q Why can’t you give a number?

MR. KIRBY: James, I’ve given you an answer. What’s your next question?

Q You’ve given an answer. You haven’t been responsive. Let the record show.

Blackburn signed on to a letter by a group of Republican senators denouncing Joe Biden’s proposal for $9 billion in “humanitarian assistance” for Gaza that said in part, “there is no way for the U.S. to have proper oversight over the billions of dollars that the administration intends to funnel to Gaza when Gaza is being ruled by a terrorist organization.”

Others supporting the letter are: Senators Rick Scott (R-FL), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), Steve Daines (R-MT), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Pete Ricketts (R-NE), John Cornyn (R-TX), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Mike Braun (R-IN).

Photo of author
Kristinn Taylor has contributed to The Gateway Pundit for over ten years. Mr. Taylor previously wrote for Breitbart, worked for Judicial Watch and was co-leader of the D.C. Chapter of FreeRepublic.com. He studied journalism in high school, visited the Newseum and once met David Brinkley.

You can email Kristinn Taylor here, and read more of Kristinn Taylor's articles here.


Thanks for sharing!