Hmmm: State IG announces "reviews" -- plural -- into Afghanistan disgrace

Drew Angerer/Pool via AP

It’s about time that someone investigate how Joe Biden and his administration abandoned thousands of Americans to the Taliban. One has to dig into Politico’s report to find out that State Department Inspector General Diane Shaw includes that in her series of investigations into the Afghanistan disgrace. In their subheadline, they lump the abandonment of Americans into the phrase “among other issues”:

State IG launches investigations into end of Afghanistan operations

The reviews will focus on the visa program and refugee resettlement, among other issues.

“Among other issues”?? Shaw, however, alerted Congress as well as Antony Blinken that the evacuation of Americans will get explicit and separate attention from all of the other issues Shaw will probe:

The State Department’s inspector general is launching a series of investigations into the end of the Biden administration’s diplomatic operations in Afghanistan, according to State Department and congressional officials, as well as documents viewed by POLITICO.

The reviews will focus on the State Department’s Special Immigrant Visa program; Afghans processed for refugee admission into the U.S.; resettlement of those refugees and visa recipients; and the emergency evacuation of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul “to include evacuation of U.S. citizens and Afghan nationals,” according to an Oct. 15 action memorandum to Secretary of State Antony Blinken that was obtained by POLITICO.

Diana Shaw, the department’s acting inspector general, notified Congress of the move on Monday. In a separate letter to top lawmakers obtained by POLITICO, Shaw said her office was launching “several oversight projects” related to the end of the U.S. military and diplomatic missions in Afghanistan.

The spokesperson for the IG office insisted that the media should refer to this as “reviews” or “oversight,” but no one’s fooled by the wordplay. Inspectors general conduct investigations, regardless of the nomenclature. NBC News offers a more straightforward report on the development:

The State Department’s inspector general informed Congress on Monday that her office is opening a series of investigations into the Biden administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, according to a letter obtained by NBC News.

Diana Shaw, the State Department’s acting inspector general, notified the heads of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee, as well as the House and Senate intelligence committees, that her office will open “several oversight projects” related to ending diplomatic operations in Afghanistan. …

The probes will focus on the State Department’s Special Immigrant Visa program, Afghans processed for refugee admission into the U.S., resettlement of Afghan refugees and visa recipients, and the emergency evacuation of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul “to include evacuation of U.S. citizens and Afghan nationals.”

One has to wonder what took this long, given the fact that Biden abandoned thousands of Americans to the Taliban fifty days ago, and State Department still hasn’t figured a way to get them out. Over the weekend, State declared that they might have something figured out by the end of the yearNo rush, fellas. Take your time.

By the way, where are the IGs at the Department of Defense on this point? State and the Pentagon spent the first few weeks pointing the finger at each other over the abandonment of Americans and Afghan allies in the rush to the exits. The real blame lies above both of them, but the lack of pushback on the decision plus the terrible execution of the policy should prompt an IG or two at the DoD to start scrutinizing the chain of command.

The fact that State’s IG took the lead might mean that accountability might start with Blinken for this disgrace — if Shaw takes her job seriously, and isn’t doing this to run interference for him. Accountability shouldn’t end there, and the media should be focusing on the Americans Biden abandoned until they’re all safely out of the hands of the Taliban. This historically craven act shouldn’t be covered with the phrase “among other issues.”

Addendum: AJ Kaufman scolds the media for its “among other issues” approach as well.