Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed Wednesday the State Department is conducting an internal review into the evacuation of Afghanistan.
“It’s absolutely critical that we capture and benefit from lessons learned,” Blinken said in a speech at the Foreign Service Institute in Arlington, Virginia, attended by lawmakers, diplomats and others.
Just as the special counsel’s investigation into the origins of Crossfire Hurricane—the FBI counterintelligence probe launched in the summer of 2016 to sabotage Donald Trump’s presidential campaign—is showing signs of life, one of the central figures in the hoax is attempting to burnish his sullied image.
ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos has produced a documentary featuring Christopher Steele, the man responsible for the so-called dossier bearing his name. “Out of the Shadows: The Man Behind the Steele Dossier,” streamed on Hulu Monday night; promotional clips hinted that, far from a hard-hitting interview exposing Steele for the charlatan he is, Stephanopoulos gave Steele a chance to spin his story ahead of possible new indictments related to John Durham’s inquiry into the Trump-Russia election collusion hoax.
State Department evacuation flights out of Afghanistan will resume by the end of the year, a senior State Department official told The Wall Street Journal.
The operation to retrieve U.S. citizens and Afghan allies left behind will require coordination with the Taliban and other governments, the official told The Wall Street Journal. Kabul’s international airport remains closed to regular passenger travel since the U.S. ended its first evacuation attempt on Aug. 31.
U.S. citizens, U.S. legal permanent residents and immediate family members will receive priority treatment in securing seats on evacuation flights, the official said. The State Department is hoping to eventually have several aircraft leave the country each week.
President Joe Biden is planning to increase the number of refugees allowed to enter the U.S. to 125,000 during the new fiscal year, which will begin October 1.
The move, which was announced by the State Department Monday, fulfills a Biden campaign promise. Though, the action will likely not impact two groups of people in the news of late – the thousands of Afghans who fled Kabul last month as U.S. forces were hastily withdrawn, and the more than 15,000 Haitians who are camped under a bridge in Del Rio, Texas, along the southern border having fled political and economic turmoil in their home country. The two groups are not classed by the department as refugees.
America First Legal is demanding an investigation into the Biden administration regarding its withdrawal from Afghanistan and is requesting answers from a number of government agencies over the handling of evacuees, according to a letter and six Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests first obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
The group has asked the Department of Defense (D0D) acting inspector general for an investigation into the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, specifically into the reported “‘Kill List’ Given to the Taliban,” information revealing what the president knew from intelligence reports, details about the “abandoned equipment and assets” and about leaving Bagram air base, as well as information about the “effective deployment of US air force assets.”
Uzbekistan, a Middle Eastern nation that borders Afghanistan, warned the U.S. that refugees fleeing the Taliban wouldn’t be granted asylum, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The Uzbekistan government recently urged the U.S. to take action and transport the refugees to a third nation, according to the WSJ. The small Middle Eastern country reportedly doesn’t want t0 create tension with the incoming Taliban-controlled Afghan government by housing refugees including soldiers who fought alongside and were trained by American troops.
The Biden administration continued to inform American citizens in Afghanistan as of Thursday evening they could have to pay more than $2,000 to board an evacuation flight out of the country, despite the State Department telling the press hours before that it had no intention of levying any such charges.
The U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan has stated in multiple security advisories since Monday that any U.S. citizen seeking to evacuate the country must complete an online form in order to secure their repatriation flight. “This form is the only way to communicate interest in flight options,” the embassy said in a security advisory Wednesday.
State Department spokesman Ned Price told the Daily Caller News Foundation and other news outlets late Thursday afternoon that the Biden administration has “no intention of seeking any reimbursement from those fleeing Afghanistan.”
Army Maj. Gen. Hank Taylor and Pentagon Spokesman John Kirby dodged a reporter’s question about whether the US military is buying aviation fuel from the Taliban as evacuation efforts continue at Hamid Karzai International Airport (HKIA) in Kabul.
During a briefing at the Pentagon Thursday, Kirby also revealed that of the 2,000 people evacuated over the last 24 hours, only 300 of them were Americans.
“How are you fueling your planes… are you now in a position that you have to buy fuel from the Taliban?” asked Fox News national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin during a briefing at the Pentagon.
The Biden Administration quashed a critical State Department program designed to help Americans evacuate safely out of crisis zones just months prior to the fall of Kabul, the National Pulse reported Wednesday.
The “Contingency and Crisis Response Bureau” was established late last year to handle medical, diplomatic, and logistical support involving Americans overseas.
On April 12, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the appointment of Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, a career Foreign Service Officer and former ambassador to Malta, as the State Department’s first chief diversity and inclusion officer (CDIO). On July 21, Blinken sent an unclassified cable to U.S. diplomatic and consular posts around the world to introduce Abercrombie-Winstanley — who, in her new position, reports directly to the secretary of state — and to tout the new Office for Diversity and Inclusion.
A State Department that welcomes, and offers opportunities for advancement, to all Americans is a priority. Yet the lofty rhetoric of diversity and inclusion has often provided a cover for imposing ideological conformity and distributing benefits and burdens based on race. Therefore, Blinken’s new undertaking gives cause for concern. His near silence in the two official pronouncements about the personal qualities, educational attainments, professional achievements, and areas of expertise that the State Department values in building a workforce that responsibly conducts American foreign policy heightens apprehensions.
To advance U.S. interests abroad, the State Department must live up to America’s highest principles by ensuring that service in the nation’s diplomatic corps is open to all citizens based on skills, talents, and character. Individuals with diverse experiences, opinions, and training enrich understanding within the department of the vast array of jobs, opportunities, and threats that the United States faces abroad. These range from efficient processing of visa requests and effective operation within international organizations to protect health and the environment to cooperating with friends and partners to counter the Chinese Communist Party’s aim in every region of the globe to reorient world order around Beijing’s authoritarian imperatives.
The State Department will allow people to choose their gender on passports, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement Wednesday.
The State Department will let people “self-select their gender as ‘M’ or ‘F’” and will waive the required medical certification for individuals whose gender on their citizenship or ID doesn’t match their “self-selected gender,” Blinken said.
Blinken also said his department was also working toward adding “non-binary, intersex, and gender non-conforming persons” gender markers for passport applicants.
A spokesperson for the Biden Administration’s State Department confirmed the possibility that some of the aid being sent to the Palestinians could go to the terrorist organization Hamas, according to the Washington Free Beacon.
The administration is allocating up to $100 million of American taxpayers’ money to go to the Palestinians, but has repeatedly declined to confirm if there are any safeguards in the aid package that could prevent some of the funds from going to Hamas, the terror group that is responsible for thousands of unprovoked rocket attacks on Israel in recent weeks.
An unnamed senior official with the State Department said that “as we’ve seen in life, as we all know in life, there are no guarantees,” with regards to the possibility of terrorists getting their hands on some of the funds.
The corporate press spent much of the pandemic dismissing the theory that COVID-19 could have accidentally leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology because former President Donald Trump talked about it, according to Washington Post senior reporter Aaron Blake.
“It has become evident that some corners of the mainstream media overcorrected when it came to one particular theory from Trump and his allies: that the coronavirus emanated from a laboratory in Wuhan, China, rather than naturally,” Blake wrote in an analysis piece published Monday. “It’s also true that many criticisms of the coverage are overwrought and that Trump’s and his allies’ claims invited and deserved skepticism.”
Blake explained that the media was justified in being skeptical of the lab leak theory because Trump and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had leaned in “hard” to the theory without providing “even piecemeal evidence” to support their claims.
The State Department is expanding the “Do Not Travel” guidelines for U.S. citizens to include nearly 80% of countries because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency announced Monday.
The travel advisories will be updated to align with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) health notices as travelers are at risk because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the State Department said in a statement.
“This update will result in a significant increase in the number of countries at Level 4: Do Not Travel, to approximately 80% of countries worldwide,” the department said in a statement.
President Biden’s State Department announced Wednesday the creation of a chief diversity officer position, as well as a council of deputy assistant secretaries from each of its bureaus, in an effort to bring “diversity and inclusion” to the department, Fox News reported.
“I am committed to bringing the diversity and inclusion work already underway at the State Department to the next level,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement Wednesday. “To make that happen, I am pleased to announce the creation of a new Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer position at State.”
State Department officials were explicitly ordered in spring 2019 to stop tracking 13 prominent Americans’ social media accounts for information about the Joe Biden-Ukraine scandal because the monitoring violated federal law, according to emails that were originally redacted to hide the concerns from the American public.
“We are barred by law from actively monitoring the accounts of American citizens in aggregate — and particularly from identifying and monitoring individual, selected accounts,” a State Department official wrote in an April 1, 2019 email to officials in Washington and the U.S. embassy in Kiev.
Since June, over 1,000 Chinese nationals located in the United States have had their visas revoked after being labeled national security risks, as reported by CNN. The State Department released a statement on Wednesday addressing the matter, revealing that the initiative had specifically targeted “graduate students and research scholars” at various American universities who had been determined to be “high-risk,” and were thus removed from the country.
Officials at the U.S. embassy in Kiev ordered the monitoring of 13 prominent Americans’ social media accounts during the early days of the Ukraine scandal in spring 2019 and later were informed their activities potentially violated the Privacy Act, according to State Department memos made public on Tuesday.
The memos, released under a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by the conservative watchdog Judicial Watch, show those targeted for monitoring included President Trump’s eldest son, Don Jr., the president’s personal lawyer and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and Fox News personalities Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and Lou Dobbs. This reporter was one of the 13 individuals on the list targeted.
President Donald Trump fired Steve Linick, the State Department’s inspector general, on Friday night, sources told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Trump notified House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that he was removing Linick from office, effective in 30 days. He said in the letter that “it is vital that I have the fullest confidence in the appointees serving as Inspectors General.”
The State Department is suspending visa services in most countries across the world, the Trump administration’s latest response to mitigating the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement released late Wednesday, the State Department announced it’s cancelling all routine immigrant and nonimmigrant appoints at embassies and consulates in numerous countries. The suspensions became effective immediately, and no specific date was provided on when services would begin again.
Hunter Biden was on the board of a trade coalition that lobbied the Obama administration in 2014 on foreign assistance to Ukraine, and appears to have set up a State Department meeting for the group’s president.
Biden’s links to the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC) and its affiliate, the Center for U.S. Global Leadership, have gone largely unreported in the coverage of his various business dealings, which have caused a headache for his father as he runs for president.
Consumers of the corporate leftist media’s political coverage have heard a drumbeat of reports that an honorable, highly capable, long-serving diplomat recently was driven from office following a vicious, conspiracy-driven smear campaign by dishonest, shameless partisans who leaked misleading stories to the media, generally abused power, and disregarded the constitutional chain of authority.
by Victoria Macchi The Trump administration is considering more dramatic cuts to the U.S. refugee program, with one official suggesting the White House not allow any refugees into the country in the coming fiscal year. In a Politico report released Thursday, government officials from several federal agencies attended a meeting…