Jake Sullivan Repeats Claim That Biden Admin Planned for ‘All Contingencies’ in Afghanistan

The White House / YouTube

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters Tuesday that the Biden administration had planned for “all contingencies” in Afghanistan, repeating a line that President Joe Biden used in his remarks to the nation on Monday.

On Monday, Biden said that his administration had been “moving quickly to execute the plans we had put in place to respond to every constituency, including — and contingency — including the rapid collapse we’re seeing now.” He would only admit: “This did unfold more quickly than we had anticipated.”

Sullivan echoed Biden’s claim about planning for every outcome (rush transcript):

When you conclude 20 years of military action in a civil war in another country, with the impacts of 20 years of decisions that have piled up, you have to make a lot of hard calls, none with clean outcomes. What you can do is plan for all contingencies. We did that. The American forces now on the ground … are there because of contingency planning and drilling we did over the course of months, preparing for a range of scenarios, including dire scenarios. President Biden ordered many battalions to be pre-positioned in theater, and he activated them for deployment before the fall of Kabul. He also put additional battalions on a short string here in the United States. Those battalions have now flown in as well. Yes, there were chaotic scenes yesterday, but as [Pentagon spokesman] Admiral [John] Kirby said, even well-drawn plans don’t survive first contact with reality and they require adjustments. We have made those adjustments. We will stay in close touch with our allies and partners in the days ahead as we contend with the immediate need to complete the evacuation mission and as we deal with a broader challenges posed by the new reality in Afghanistan. And we will remain persistently vigilant against the terrorism threat in Afghanistan and in multiple other theaters across multiple continents. We have proven in other places that we can suppress terrorism without a permanent military presence on the ground, and we intend to do exactly that in Afghanistan.

Asked later whether the Biden administration’s handling of the withdrawal was incompetent, Sullivan reiterated that it had planned for “all contingencies”:

First, what I would say is that we were clear-eyed going in, when we made this decision. It was possible the Taliban would end up in control of Afghanistan. We were clear-eyed about that. Now, as the president said yesterday, we did not anticipate it would happen at this speed, though we were planning for these contingencies. The reason I say that at the outset we knew it was possible they could take over and that had to be built into our calculus in making the determination to draw down our forces is because once the Taliban came into Kabul, we were going to be faced with a situation, no matter if there were troops on the ground or no U.S. troops on the ground, of dealing with a significant number of people wanting to come to an airport to try to get evacuated. I will give you an example. We communicated with American citizens for weeks telling them to get out of the country. We offered financial assistance for those who wouldn’t be able to afford to get on flights themselves. Many chose to stay right until the end, and that was their choice. We now are faced with a circumstance where we have to help evacuate those. That is our responsibility as the U.S. government. But the point I am making is that when a civil war comes to an end, with an opposing force marching on the capital, there are going to be scenes of chaos. There are going to be lots of people leaving the country. That is not something that can be fundamentally avoided. And so, while it is a point for reasonable debate, in my view, as to how to think about the right moment to signal a complete loss of confidence in a government or not, and which is going to lead to more suffering and death or not, the fact is we made the judgments we made based on information we had at the time while preparing for the alternative contingency. Which was having to fly in these troops to be able to get out folks in a mass evacuation.

In July, President Biden said that a Taliban takeover of the entire country was “highly unlikely.”

Sullivan was a key figure in spreading the “Russia collusion” hoax, falsely briefing reporters about links between Donald Trump and Russia, and testifying to Congress that he believed former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn had been involved in a conspiracy with the Russian government. Sullivan now occupies Flynn’s former job at the White House.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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