Reports of the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) warning of a rapid Afghan collapse raises questions about what President Joe Biden knew and when he knew it.
Current and former U.S. officials told NBC News, the CIA’s worst-case scenario of a potential Afghan collapse came true. It “was pretty close to what happened,” a former official said about the scenario.
Biden acknowledged he received intelligence about Afghanistan on July 8 by answering a question about an intelligence report that predicted an Afghanistan collapse without American support. “That is not true. They did not reach that conclusion,” he said.
“The Afghan government and leadership has to come together,” Biden continued, avoiding any details of the report by placing responsibility on the Afghans. “They have the capacity. They have the forces. They have the equipment. The question is: Will they do it?”
NBC News reported Wednesday the White House would not confirm or deny whether Biden “ever received such a dire forecast from his national security team.”
Biden, however, said during his speech Monday that the collapse of the country “did unfold more quickly than we had anticipated.”
CNN reported Tuesday that Biden’s State Department claimed they were acting on an intelligence assessment that predicted Afghanistan had “more time” before the Taliban could take “total” control of the country, but intelligence officials rejected that claim.
The finger-pointing became more mystifying when Biden’s National security adviser Jake Sullivan on Tuesday denied he was “familiar” with any “intelligence assessment” that would indicate Afghanistan would fall so quickly.
“I’m not actually familiar with the intelligence assessments you’re describing. But I also don’t want to get into specific intelligence products,” he said. “And one thing I will not do from this podium or anywhere else is talk about what a different component of the inner agency did or didn’t do because from my perspective.”
The different White House stories about the intelligence reports and what those intelligence reports said are unclear, which places the spotlight on Biden to clarify what he knew before the country came crashing down in less than a week.
It is likely the question will only be answered by a congressional investigation. And because the Democrats control Congress, the 2022 midterm elections will play a significant role in the possibility of creating a congressional committee to investigate Biden’s knowledge of what he knew and when.
“I am president of the United States and the buck stops with me,” Biden admitted Monday.
Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø