First lady Jill Biden disrupted efforts and “stressed resources” during last year’s Afghanistan evacuation.
This accusation comes as part of a recently declassified 2,000-page report obtained by The Washington Post after submitting a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
An interview with Rear Adm. Peter Vasely, special assistant to the Director of the Navy Staff, from September of last year explained the issues Jill Biden and other “high-profile” contacts were causing through a barrage of phone calls, text messages and emails.
Vasely said during sworn testimony, “I cannot stress enough how these high-profile requests ate up bandwidth and created competition for already stressed resources.”
As to whether Jill Biden and Pope Francis were among those who “created competition for already stressed resources,” Vasely said, “That’s accurate.”
“I was being contacted by representatives from the Holy See to assist the Italian military contingent… in getting through groups… of special interest to the Vatican,” Vasely said. “That is just one of many examples.”
Later in the report, Vasely explained that he had to create a “coordination cell” just to handle the overwhelming volume of communications coming with special requests.
“But you had everyone from the White House down with a new flavor of the day for prioritization,” Vasely said.
President Joe Biden was confronted on the conclusion of the declassified report in an interview with NBC News anchor Lester Holt.
“So they’re not true?” Holt asked.
“I’m rejecting them,” Biden stated.
On NBC, Biden repeatedly dismisses the Army's report about the disastrous U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan —
Holt: "Are you rejecting the conclusions or the accounts…in this Army report?"
Biden: "Yes, I am."
Holt: "So they're not true?"
Biden: "I'm rejecting them." pic.twitter.com/AInRMQbMw6
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) February 11, 2022
As previously reported, Biden’s rejection of the report is not a denial of its veracity.
Vasely’s conclusion was included as part of the summary of the report and said that the military would have been “much better prepared to conduct a more orderly” evacuation “if policymakers had paid attention to the indicators of what was happening on the ground.”
The implication here is clear. Without the added distraction of those like the first lady and others focused on the public relations aspect of the Afghanistan withdrawal, the events may have unfolded much differently.
The president isn’t the only one rejecting the message of these reports, however. In a recent briefing regarding the terrorist attack on August 26, 2021 that led to the death of 13 U.S. service members, General Lance Curtis spoke on behalf of the Pentagon in saying, “Based on our investigation at the tactical level, this was not preventable.”
The idea that the suicide bombing was not preventable seems to be in direct contradiction to the facts that show the bomber, Abdul Rehman, was incarcerated in a prison at Bagram Air Base and released on Aug. 15 after the U.S. military withdrew in July without notifying the Afghan National Army.
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