State 'twiddling its thumbs' over Iranian dissidents, lawmakers say

Republican lawmakers say efforts to relocate a group of Iranian dissidents living in Iraq must be expedited and that the Obama administration has been too passive in the wake of a missile barrage last week that killed dozens of refugees.

At a commemoration on Capitol Hill Thursday, Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, accused the State Department of "twiddling its thumbs" in its protection of Camp Liberty and called for the resignation of the official in the Iraqi government charged with protecting the encampment.

"His job is to protect the residents and he cannot do that or he won't do it, he needs to go," Poe said. "And Iraq needs to replace that individual with someone who will actually do what they are supposed to, secure the security of the people in Camp Liberty. And the United States needs to push harder on the Iraqi government to do this, and insist on it, and take no for no answer."

Poe, who is chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade, also said he and a bipartisan group of lawmakers wrote a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry in September asking the State Department to provide protective gear and equipment to the residents of the camp. The State Department never replied, but he said, "We did get a response from the bad guys."