USA Today on Wednesday demanded honesty from President Joe Biden over the White House’s conflicting communications about Afghan intelligence reports.
“Biden administration owes the American public and American allies straight talk under oath about the tragic evacuation from the Taliban takeover,” USA Today published. “Biden offered blame shifting that deserves to be challenged.”
The paper gave an example of Biden’s lack of transparency on July 8, when he acknowledged intelligence reports that indicated Afghanistan would probably collapse but claimed the intelligence reports were “not true.”
“That is not true,” Biden claimed. “They did not … reach that conclusion.”
USA Today pointed to a report by the Washington Post that asserts the “intelligence community was predicting the fall of the Kabul regime within six months of a U.S. withdrawal,” which was shortened last week.
“So which is it? Did those forecasts occur and, if so, were they communicated to the president?” USA Today questioned.
In Biden’s own words Monday, he said the collapse of the country “did unfold more quickly than we had anticipated,” but NBC News reported Wednesday the White House would not confirm or deny if Biden “ever received such a dire forecast from his national security team.”
The conflicting messages were compounded Tuesday by National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, who 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.”
Upon Sullivan’s statement, it is unknown what Biden knew or when he knew about the impending collapse of the United State’s 20-year investment into Afghanistan. Those questions will presumable only be answered by a congressional investigation, which underscores the importance of the 2022 midterms.
Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø