New York Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin asked Secretary of State Antony Blinken during the Foreign Affairs Committee proceedings regarding the declaration of non grata by DASH of former Prime Minister Sali Berisha.
Zeldin has sought information about the verdict, saying he personally had failed to find evidence of corruption. Blinken said that standard procedures were followed for the decision, and called on Zeldin to go to the Legislative Office to be informed before seeking information from the media.
Excerpts from the Zeldin-Blinken exchange:
LEE ZELDIN: You have announced sanctions against the former President of Albania, Sali Berisha, and for many of us it was a surprise that he has been a guest and ally of George W. Bush and also an aggressive opponent of George Soros. As for his political history with the US, What information can you share to justify this dramatic move?
ANTONY BLINKEN: Thank you, we continue to look beyond the borders about those involved in corruption who violate human rights, who challenge the principles of democracy. In this case the process proceeded normally, including my lawyers. I would be happy to share it with you if it were helpful, what exactly is being talked about.
LEE ZELDIN: Is there any specific information you can share with the Commission this time?
ANTONY BLINKEN: I have nothing to share with you right now, but I would like to comment with you and anyone who is interested.
LEE ZELDIN : I did some research to find out what corrupt affair Sali Berisha was involved in, and I could not find anything. Where should a journalist go looking for information? So where should a journalist go to get information on the corruption you are referring to?
ANTONY BLINKEN: First, before we move on to the media, members come to the Office of the Legislature, and we will make sure you get the information, and second, as far as the media is concerned, come to the Office of the Spokesperson and we will make sure that in accordance with our obligations, we share the information with you.
LEE ZELDIN: Are you aware of open sources of information that support the allegations that there was corruption in which Berisha was involved?
ANTONY BLINKEN: I’m sure any journalist can ask that question in the press releases we hold every day at DASH to get any information we have available to the public.
LEE ZELDIN: To clarify something about Mr. Berisha’s defense, I’re just trying to figure out what is true and what is not, have you or anyone on your behalf communicated with Soros?
ANTONY BLINKEN: I do not, I can not speak on behalf of all DASH, but I do not.