Calls for executive privilege to be waived using Biden Administration’s own criteria
WASHINGTON — Today, House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky.) sent a letter to President Joe Biden, U.S. Department of State Secretary Antony Blinken, and U.S. Department of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin demanding the Administration preserve all documents and communications related to the disastrous withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan. The execution of the withdrawal of U.S. and U.S.-allied troops from Afghanistan was reckless and haphazard, leading to deadly consequences and a Taliban takeover of the region. Americans have been left seeking answers and deserve to fully understand the Biden Administration’s flawed withdrawal and decision-making process.
“We write to demand that you take all necessary measures to preserve any and all documents and communications related to the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan amid the Taliban’s takeover of that country. To this day, many American citizens and lawful permanent residents remain stranded in Afghanistan. Afghanistan National Defense Security Forces’ military equipment—much of which was originally funded by the United States—was left in that country to be captured by the Taliban. It is Congress’ duty to review the decisions that led to this national security and humanitarian crisis. The American people deserve to know how the Biden Administration planned for and executed the withdrawal from Afghanistan, as well as the chaotic evacuations after the Taliban took control of Kabul,” wrote Ranking Member Comer.
The Biden Administration has waived executive privilege in circumstances where maintaining the privilege “is not in the best interests of the United States” and where there are “unique and extraordinary circumstances.” Using the Biden’s Administration’s own criteria, discovering the truth of what occurred during the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan is in the best interest of the United States and constitutes a unique and extraordinary circumstance.
“You are already obligated to ensure compliance with record preservation requirements set forth in federal law… Specifically, we request that all types of documents and essential communications between and among Department employees related to the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan and the evacuation of U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and vulnerable Afghans be preserved. Indeed, discovering the truth of what occurred is in the best interest of the United States…,” concluded Ranking Member Comer.
Read the full letter here.