U.S. gov't billing citizens for evacuation from Beirut

BoingBoing reader Thomas says,

One of Andrew Sullivan's readers, an American in Beirut, reported to Sullivan that the U.S. government's offer to evacuate Americans to protect them from the Israeli blitz comes with a price tag:

"They are finally getting everything together today, but they dropped a little surprise: they are going to be billing us for giving us emergency transport to Cyprus, and then basically dropping us off on our own to get commercial flights back to the US. Most other goverrnments evacuating people here are actually flying them back to their home country without cost. But not the USG."


Update: Thomas says,

I googled around some on the government billing evacuees from Beirut and
found confirmation in the "legitimate" press:

"In statements e-mailed to Americans in Lebanon and posted on the
embassy's Web site, the State Department has stressed "that the U.S.
government does not provide no-cost transportation but does have the
authority to provide repatriation loans to those in financial need. For
the portion of your trip directly handled by the U.S. Government we will
ask you to sign a promissory note and we will bill you at a later date.""