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U.S. Questioned on Egypt Tear Gas Shipments

HeadlinesNov 30, 2011

The Obama administration is facing scrutiny over the recent shipments of tear gas from a U.S. firm to the military government in Egypt. Workers at Egypt’s Suez seaport revealed an initial seven-ton shipment from the company Combined Systems recently arrived. Egyptian forces have used U.S.-made tear gas in an attempt to break up the mass protests against military rule in Tahrir Square. On Tuesday, State Department spokesperson Mark Toner was questioned about the shipments.

Reporter: "What does that say, then, when you’ve got tear gas shipments arriving in the Port of Suez with 'Made in the USA' on the side of them?"

Mark Toner: "Well, you know, it’s—again, as I said, these are—this tear gas is approved for export to many countries around the world. It’s used by police forces in many countries around the world, including our own, including our own."

Reporter: "But you’ve seen instances, haven’t you?"

Mark Toner: "Including our own."

Reporter: "In the past week or so, where it’s been misused?"

Mark Toner: "Right. And let me just finish what—my last point, which was saying that, you know, we certainly condemn the misuse of tear gas that would result in death or injury. And any kind of misuse to that extent would certainly cause us to—give us pause, I think, and has the potential to jeopardize future exports."

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