Blackburn Presses National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan On Roughly 500 American Hostages Stuck In Gaza

November 1, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) today demanded answers from National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and called on the Biden administration to formally recognize the approximately 500 American citizens in Gaza as hostages under federal law.

Under Federal Law, The Approximately 500 U.S. Citizens Stuck In Gaza Are Hostages

Federal law defines “hostage taking” 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 reality is clear: by preventing the departure of additional Americans from Gaza in exchange for demands on the U.S. government, Hamas is holding these Americans as hostages. Continuing to make offhanded statements in the media, while refusing to acknowledge the dire hostage situation that 500 of our own citizens are facing, is egregious. The American people, already gravely concerned about the conflict in Israel, deserve to know the full truth about the impact of this conflict on our citizens. And the hundreds of U.S. citizens who are being forced to stay in Gaza under the control of murderous terrorists deserve the full support of their government.

The United States Must Not Bend To Terrorists And Must Bring Our Citizens Home Safely

To get these people home, we cannot employ your usual strategy of appeasement of the Iranian regime. The United States should never negotiate with terrorists, especially those which seek to destroy Israel, our strongest ally in the Middle East. The Iranian regime is the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism, and it has no qualms with funding terrorist groups throughout the Middle East, including Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Hezbollah…. We must do everything we can to rescue these Americans without engaging in appeasement of Hamas or other Iranian proxies, which will only embolden future campaigns of violence.


  • RELEASE: Experts Agree – Hamas Is Holding 500 Americans Hostage in Gaza
  • On Sunday, Jake Sullivan on Face the Nation stated, “Hamas is preventing the departure [of Americans and other foreign nationals out of Gaza] making a series of demands.”
  • On Monday, the State Department’s spokesperson reaffirmed that Hamas was making "a number of demands" to allow foreign nationals to leave Gaza.
  • Under 18 U.S. CODE § 1203, the some 500 Americans being held in Gaza are hostages. Plain and simple.
Click here to view the letter.