In the first congressional hearing on the botched Afghanistan withdrawal on Monday, Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL), an Army veteran and double amputee, blasted hapless Secretary of State Antony Blinken, telling him families of the killed 13 service members deserve real answers over what happened.
Mast queried Blinken about the leaked transcript that showed Biden pressuring Ghani to change the perception of the security situation in Afghanistan prior to the withdrawal of all U.S. forces.
Mast asked Blinken whether President Joe Biden tried to get then-Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to manipulate the intelligence because things were not going well. Blinken said “absolutely not.”
Mast said the families of the 13 service members deserved honest answers. He held up each service member’s photo and spoke about their lives, emphasizing each time that the “family deserves to know” if manipulated intelligence was “why everything went so wrong.”
“I find it hard to believe that President Biden would do that without you being aware of this and these are things that we deserve to know better answers, have better hearings on this, I do not believe a word that you are saying on this,” Mast continued.
When Blinken tried to respond, Mast cut him off, saying: “I do not wish to hear from you. I’m not yielding you a moment of time. I’m not yielding you a moment of time, I don’t wish to hear your lies. I heard your lies when you stepped in front of the camera, I’m not listening..no one should hear your lies.”
17 Known Connections
Blinken Was on Vacation When Kabul Fell to the Taliban
As the Taliban swarmed into Kabul on August 15, 2021, to put the finishing touches on their conquest of Afghanistan, Blinken, President Joe Biden, and White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki were all taking vacations. As The Washington Post reported:
“In June, U.S. intelligence agencies had assessed that the Afghan government would hang on for at least another six months. By August, the dominant view was that the Taliban wasn’t likely to pose a serious threat to Kabul until late fall.
“American officials may have been urging [Afghan president] Ghani to show greater urgency. But their own actions suggested no immediate cause for alarm, with officials surrendering to the customary rhythms of Washington in August. On the Friday afternoon before Kabul fell, the White House was starting to empty out, as many of the senior staff prepared to take their first vacations of Biden’s young presidency. Earlier in the day, Biden had arrived [for his vacation] at Camp David, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken was already in the Hamptons.
“But by Saturday, the fall of Mazar-e Sharif — site of furious battles between pro and anti-Taliban forces in the 1990s — convinced U.S. officials that they needed to scramble. How quickly was a subject of dispute between the Pentagon and State Department.”
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