On Wednesday U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) introduced legislation to establish a Senate Select Committee, granting full subpoena power to investigate and report on President Joe Biden’s botched withdrawal from Afghanistan, which left 13 American service members dead.
“Joe Biden is desperate to evade responsibility for his disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, but the American people deserve better. They deserve to know why the Administration ignored warnings that Kabul could collapse, why they delayed evacuating Americans until it was too late, and why they failed to protect our servicemembers or even vet Afghan evacuees before they came to the United States,” said Senator Hawley. “My bill will make sure the American people get the answers – and accountability – they deserve.”
Senator Hawley’s resolution will:
- Establish a 20-member Senate Select Committee on the Afghanistan withdrawal.
- Task the Senate Select Committee to investigate and report on:
- Intelligence available, including dissenting views, during the withdrawal.
- The Administration’s failure to begin evacuation operations quickly enough.
- The Administration’s decision to prioritize evacuating as many people as possible over protecting U.S. servicemembers and civilians.
- The Administration’s failure to thoroughly vet evacuees.
- Americans left in Afghanistan after the withdrawal and U.S. officials’ knowledge of the same when they testified that no Americans were left behind.
- Empower the Senate Select Committee to gather information by issuing subpoenas and taking, or ordering the taking of, depositions, including of former U.S. officials.
- Prohibit U.S. officials from withholding information from the Senate Select Committee, including for reasons of classification, executive privilege, or attorney-client privilege.
- Require the Senate Select Committee to hold open hearings with the National Security Advisor, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, and other key officials, including ground commanders, in the interest of public transparency.
Senator Hawley has continually demanded accountability from the Biden Administration for the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan. He introduced a resolution honoring Marine Corps Lance Corporal Jared Schmitz and each of the 56 Missourians who gave their lives during the war in Afghanistan. The resolution passed the Senate unanimously in September 2021.
Most recently, Senators Hawley and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) sent a letter to the Department of Defense (DoD) Office of Inspector General (OIG) calling for an immediate investigation into new DoD whistleblower allegations about the withdrawal. In response, the DoD OIG announced they will open a review into the whistleblower allegations including the Biden Administration’s failure to properly vet hundreds of Afghan evacuees who have entered the United States, despite appearing on a DoD watchlist that includes known suspected terrorists.