Doocy Presses Kirby On Who Is Being Vetted After UN Agency Fires Staffers For Alleged Hamas Attack Participation

[Screenshot/YouTube/White House press briefing]

Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
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Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy pressed White House spokesperson John Kirby on “who is being vetted” by the White House following the firings of UN agency employees who allegedly participated in the Oct. 7 Hamas attack.

The UN Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) fired twelve employees who were alleged to be involved in the terrorist attack on Israel that left 1,400 Israelis and several Americans dead. The U.S. Department of State temporarily halted additional funding for the agency while they conducted a review, according to the agency’s Friday statement.

“You said this month about the UNRWA, you can’t hold them accountable for the depredations of Hamas. How about now?” Doocy asked at the press briefing Friday.

“Certainly it looks as if, Peter — and again, there’s an investigation going on so I’ll be careful. It certainly looks as if there’s cause to be concerned of the members of UNRWA … but that does not, nor should it impugn the entire agency and the entire, all the body of work that they’re doing. They have helped save literally thousands of lives in Gaza, they do important work. Doesn’t mean that there aren’t some folks in that group that, that need to be punished for potentially these kinds of behavior. But that doesn’t impugn the entire organization.”

“That’s bad, though, if there are twelve people who are accused —” Doocy said.

“It’s bad, it’s bad if there’s one!” Kirby interjected. (RELATED: Doocy To John Kirby Point-Blank: Why Is Biden ‘Making It Easier For People To Enter The Country Illegally?) 

“That’s right, and the U.S. is giving them money. How much money?” Doocy asked.

“We have suspended the — we have suspended —” Kirby began.

“How much before the suspension?” Doocy asked, which Kirby said he could not name an exact amount.

Doocy then pressed Kirby on the White House’s vetting process by saying migrants coming across the U.S.-Mexico border are not being investigated. Kirby criticized Doocy’s comparison of UNRWA investigation to the southern border.

“Well, what does this White House vet? Because we know that people coming across the southern border are not vetted. Now we know that people that are getting hundreds of millions of dollars of U.S. money are not being vetted. So, who do you guys check out?” Doocy asked.

“It’s, it’s interesting that you’re combining the two. The, the border and this, but let’s just—let me, just give me a second. It’s not like we don’t have a process at the border, and there is a challenge there, and the president does want to get more border patrol agents. But this idea that there’s no vetting and there’s no proper immigration enforcement going on at the border just does not comport with reality. A lot of work needs to be done to get better at that, but that — put that aside, because that has nothing to do — and you know that has nothing to do — with UNRWA and Gaza,” Kirby said.

Kirby said the U.S. is “willing to hold [UNRWA accountable” for the twelve staffers’ alleged participation if proven true, and said the investigation needs to be “complete, thorough and transparent.” Doocy continued to press on about U.S. funding.

“But up until today, U.S. policy, then, has been ‘we don’t negotiate with terrorists, but we will give them hundreds of millions of dollars,'” Doocy continued.

“Come on, now. That’s — that’s conflating here. This is not, that’s like saying the whole UNRWA is a terrorist organization,” Kirby said. “You know who is a terrorist organization? Hamas, not UNRWA. Now — if they have, if the investigation proves that, in this case, I think it’s about a dozen employees were assisting Hamas, and even to the point of maybe even, you know, involved in hostage taking, then absolutely they need to be held to account,” Kirby said.

He told Doocy the White House will consider any additional funding depending on the findings of the investigation.