WASHINGTON – Today, House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky.) and Subcommittee on National Security Ranking Member Glenn Grothman (R-Wis.) sent a letter to John Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), requesting all documents, communications, and information related to the Biden Administration’s ongoing obstruction of the investigation into the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan. The Republican lawmakers emphasized the critical importance of SIGAR’s oversight mission and stressed that the American people deserve to fully understand how taxpayer dollars and national security were impacted following the botched withdrawal.
“On October 25, 2022, we wrote to you requesting a briefing on your continuing oversight efforts of the United States’ botched withdrawal from Afghanistan and any obstacles put in place by the Biden Administration. You had previously notified the Committee that the Department of State (State) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) are obstructing the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction’s (SIGAR) work by not providing fulsome or—in some cases—any responses to your inquiries. On October 28, 2022, your staff provided the requested briefing. Based on that briefing, we are following up to request documents and information regarding the Biden Administration’s efforts to avoid oversight of its disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan,” wrote the Republican lawmakers.
At the October 28, 2022, briefing, SIGAR staff detailed how the Biden Administration is obstructing oversight of the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan. For example, a current U.S. Department of State employee had been instructed to no longer cooperate with SIGAR’s oversight mission and the Department of Treasury is refusing to provide requested information. They also confirmed reports required by Congress and the law are being obstructed by the State Department, USAID, and the Treasury Department.
“When asked if the Biden Administration’s efforts are obstructing ongoing oversight of Afghan reconstruction, SIGAR staff responded, ‘yes.’ The Biden Administration’s ongoing obstruction is unacceptable and potentially illegal,” continued the Republican lawmakers. “The Biden Administration is seeking to avoid transparency, and therefore, accountability for its deadly withdrawal from Afghanistan. SIGAR has always had an important mission. But its work is especially important now. Congress—and therefore the American people—need to understand the Administration’s decisions surrounding the withdrawal and the consequences of those decisions. SIGAR is critically important in examining the whole-of-government issues regarding U.S. engagements in Afghanistan. Historically, State and USAID have honored SIGAR’s mission. Their current lack of cooperation with SIGAR—in the wake of the United States’ deadly withdrawal from Afghanistan—is alarming. Without SIGAR’s oversight, the American people lack answers on how taxpayer dollars were and continued to be used and what impact the withdrawal has had on our national security.”
Read the letter here.