The Biden administration’s State Department went silent for a week as a Congressional office struggled to get their help evacuating Americans from Afghanistan, according to an exclusive report from the Daily Caller.
Rep. Darrell Issa’s office told the Daily Caller that despite repeated requests, it took a herculean effort to get a response from the very organization charged with expediting evacuations from Afghanistan, even though the Biden administration has repeatedly said they are working with the Taliban to secure the release of Americans, coalition allies, and Afghans with special immigrant visas (SIVs).
Issa’s office also provided the Daily Caller with a record of their email exchange with the Department of State, noting that it took from August 30th until well into September to receive a response to requests for help.
“The State Department should have been in the lead rescuing Americans from the Afghanistan crisis it helped to create,” Issa told the outlet. “Instead, like the President, it has been a bystander, except for its unambiguous message to stranded citizens that they are on their own.”
“Issa’s office initially reached out to the State Department Aug. 30 to request ‘an immediate meeting with State Department officials to receive a briefing on the steps being taken to return our citizens home to safety and answer questions as to the methods being employed,’” the Daily Caller noted.
State Department officials reportedly responded positively and asked Issa’s team for information about Americans, SIVs, and others they knew needed evacuation which Issa’s office says they provided.
Things began to go south when the State Department responded again.
“The Department is planning another briefing for House Members for tomorrow and would welcome the Congressman’s questions there,” the agency said, even though Issa’s office had requested help for specific individuals.
“Regardless of the briefing we are requesting a personal meeting with State Officials to answer direct questions about our specific cases,” Issa’s office wrote in an email back. “The whole of Congress does not need to hear every single detail of our cases. But you do. Please advise on a date and time to connect within 24 hours.”
That’s when Issa’s office says the State Department went silent. It did not respond to another request until September 8th. They suggested that Issa’s office have “patience.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to face questions about the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan and the difficulties Americans, allies, and others are having planning and participating in evacuations in his planned testimony to Congress Monday. He is also expected to face questions over a barrage of informational emails that went out to American citizens living in Kabul, which gave confusing instructions on how to get a seat on an evacuation flight.
According to Daily Wire sources, American citizens remain on the ground in Afghanistan awaiting evacuation. A pair of Qatar airlines flights left Kabul airport last week following an aid drop but promised evacuations are going slowly. The same source told The Daily Wire that some Americans are choosing not to accept seats on outward bound aircraft because the State Department is currently organizing evacuations for American citizens only, not members of their family who hold green cards or other visas.