The Mirror may be the only one to report this, but wild allegations are coming from an inspector general accusing the Biden Admin of ordering a cover-up on Afghanistan, and it’s gotten no attention anywhere.
A damning speech was given by the head of Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR-oversight committee on war) on efforts by the State Department and DoD to classify vital information on the Afghan war since the fall of Kabul in August.
Shortly after the fall of Kabul, the State Dept wrote to oversight agencies requesting to “temporarily suspend access” to all “audit, inspection, and financial audit…reports”. They claimed information on reports could endanger Afghan allies. But despite repeated requests, State was never able to describe any specific threats to individuals supposedly contained in the reports, nor did State explain how removing reports could possibly protect anyone since many were years old and extensively disseminated worldwide.
Demands to remove info have increased since the fall of Kabul: The State Department said they had reviewed the relatively few materials remaining on SIGAR’s website and included a spreadsheet containing 2,400 new items they requested redacting.
This included the following request: State asked that they redact Ashraf Ghani’s name from our reports. Not sure why the former Afghan President faces any threats simply from being referenced by SIGAR.
No audience better understands the dangers of limiting public access to info in the name of “security.” And simply because the war in Afghanistan has concluded does not mean the American people – or its elected representatives – do not have a right to know the truth. For years, while SIGAR has put out remarkably detailed, and deeply inconvenient truths, about the war in Afghanistan. The Department of Defense has been able to order classified segments of those reports, hiding them from the view of the public. DOD restricted from public release a range of info going back to 2015 on the performance of the Afghan security forces, purportedly at the request of the Afghan govt. This included information such as casualty data, unit strength, training, and operational deficiencies.
In essence, nearly all the info needed to know whether the Afghan security forces were a real fighting force or a house of cards waiting to fall. In light of recent events, it’s not surprising that the Afghan government, and likely some in DOD, wanted to keep that info hidden away.
This info almost certainly would have benefited Congress and the public in assessing whether progress was being made in Afghanistan and, more importantly, whether we should have ended our efforts there earlier, yet, SIGAR was forced to relegate this information into classified appendices, making it much more difficult for Members of Congress to access the information, and completely eliminating public and press access to and discussion of that information.
The bipartisan leadership of the House Oversight and Reform Committee and its National Security Subcommittee have formally requested that all information in SIGARHQ classified appendices be declassified by the originating agencies.
Likewise, the Biden Administration should declassify and make available to SIGAR and Congress all internal DOD and State Dept cables, reports, etc. reflecting security situation on the ground over the last few years, especially those that differed from public statements of agencies in Washington.