Taking a page from former President Obama’s first-term playbook, the current White House resident is trying to buy cooperation from sworn enemies of the US. The Obama administration hadn’t been in office six months before the Democrat chief executive rewarded the Palestinians and the terrorist organization Hamas with $900 million after the latter attacked Israel. Similarly, the October 30, 2022, Quarterly Report to the United States Congress from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) investigation revealed a $1.1 billion payday for the Taliban since the Biden administration made its ignominious retreat from the Afghan capital. The Taliban won Biden’s lottery without buying a ticket. More troubling is that key administration cabinet-level agencies obstructed SIGAR’s investigations by not cooperating.
Biden’s Gift to the Taliban
The American Spectator’s Jed Babbin, in his article “Biden’s Gift to the Taliban,” explored the folly of the White House’s belief it can gain geopolitical advantage through what amounts to giving into our enemy’s extortion. Babbin explained that SIGAR’s congressionally mandated investigation was hampered by cabinet officials who should want to know if the billion-dollar payment was being spent lawfully. In an exclusive interview with Mr. Babbin, a former deputy undersecretary of defense in the Bush ’41 administration, Liberty Nation asked specifically about a statement by John Sopko, the Afghan reconstruction inspector general, in his cover letter to the SIGAR report. “[F]or the first time in its history, [SIGAR] is unable this quarter to provide Congress and the American people with a full accounting of this US government spending due to the non-cooperation of several US government agencies,” Sopko states.
Mr. Babbin, do you see this as a serious breach of ethical behavior, if not something more serious, by not cooperating with a congressionally mandated agency like SIGAR?
“It’s not just unethical, it’s quite literally a coverup of what should be a major scandal. The Biden administration gave $1.1 billion to an enemy of the United States, that was then, and is now, turning Afghanistan back to its pre-9-11 state of a haven for terrorists.”
Sopko named the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the Treasury Department, and the Department of State as culprits in the refusal to disclose information. It looks now like the House of Representatives will come into Republican hands. So, what should the cognizant House committees ask of the recalcitrant cabinet officials? Babbin explained:
“If the Republicans take the House, they should do the following. First, they should name a special select bipartisan committee to investigate the payment to the Taliban. Second, they should demand, from the White House and the agencies, all documents – classified or not – having to do with the decision to give the $1 billion to the Taliban. Third, they should convene public hearings and have, by subpoena or otherwise, the senior people in the White House and the agencies testify under oath to explain thoroughly what happened.”
Biden Administration May Be in Violation of the Law
To give away taxpayer dollars to a rogue government and enemy of the US is bad enough, but to stand in the way of the organization charged with overseeing how that money is being spent is more than a little problematic. As Inspector General Sopko points out in the report, a failure “to provide information and assistance upon request” is a violation of Section 1229(h)(5)(A) of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2008.
According to the IG’s latest report, the US tax-funded gift was intended “to support the Afghan people.” However, once the money was deposited in the Taliban’s bank account, without the cooperation of crucial Biden administration agencies, the US taxpayers have no transparency over where the billion went. With the Kabul government’s track record, it’s not likely the struggling Afghans will see any of it. Underscoring that point, the report found “that women and girls now face significant risks including reduced access to education and healthcare.” The SIGAR conclusion was that conditions under Taliban rule for women and girls are no better than they were in the 1990s.
As more calls are heard for the Biden administration to establish an inspector general office to oversee money and military equipment flowing into Ukraine, strong controls ensuring cooperation by the White House and its cabinet officials must be in place. Without transparency and effective oversight, the billions in aid to the Kyiv government will fall prey to what SIGAR experienced.
The views expressed are those of the author and not of any other affiliation.
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