Sen. Rick Scott Leads Colleagues in Demanding Accountability for Biden’s Botched Afghanistan Withdrawal, Reintroduces Bill Establishing a Bipartisan, Bicameral Joint Afghanistan Investigation Committee
January 31, 2023
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Rick Scott led Senators Bill Cassidy, Kevin Cramer, Thom Tillis, Tommy Tuberville, Mike Braun, Josh Hawley and John Hoeven to introduce a bill establishing a bipartisan, bicameral Joint Select Committee on Afghanistan to conduct a full investigation into President Biden’s failed and tragic withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan that stranded hundreds of Americans behind enemy lines, left billions of dollars in U.S. military equipment in the hands of terrorists and took the lives of 13 brave U.S. service members. This joint select committee would follow the precedent set in the aftermath of the Iran-Contra affair. Since the withdrawal, Senator Scott has been calling on Congress to launch a bicameral, bipartisan investigation.
Senator Rick Scott said, “President Biden’s misguided and dangerous decisions in his botched withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan led to the United States’ most stunning, unforced and humiliating defeat in decades. Due to President Biden’s carelessness and failed leadership, 13 U.S. service members were lost, billions of dollars of U.S. military equipment were left for the Taliban, hundreds of American citizens were stranded behind enemy lines and Afghanistan has been returned to the Taliban and now rests in the hands of the same terrorist-coddling extremists who ruled it on September 11, 2001. The world is now a more dangerous place and the American people are rightfully demanding answers. For over a year, I have called for a bipartisan and bicameral investigation into the Biden administration’s failed withdrawal of American forces and my calls have been met with silence. That’s why today, I am reintroducing my bill to establish a bipartisan and bicameral Joint Select Committee on Afghanistan to conduct a full investigation and compile a joint report on the United States’ tragically failed withdrawal from Afghanistan. It’s time to put partisan politics aside and demand accountability.”
Senator Bill Cassidy said, “Not long ago, we saw Afghanistan fall and 20 years of work collapse with it. 13 U.S. service members were lost in President Biden’s botched withdrawal. The country deserves answers.”
Senator Kevin Cramer said, “The botched withdrawal from Afghanistan cost 13 service members their lives and stranded hundreds of Americans with no way out and left vulnerable to the Taliban. A bipartisan, comprehensive investigation into this event strengthens our national security strategy and further ensures the safety of all Americans. The American people deserve to know what happened in Afghanistan so we can prevent similar failures in the future.”
Senator Thom Tillis said, “When the Biden Administration disastrously withdrew out of Afghanistan, they left thousands of our Afghan allies behind and severely damaged U.S. credibility on the world stage. Nearly a year and a half later, the American people, especially our brave veterans of the War in Afghanistan, are still owed answers. I am proud to join my colleagues in establishing this bipartisan committee to investigate this colossal failure.”
Senator Tommy Tuberville said, “President Biden wants the country to forget about his disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan that cost 13 American lives and squandered two decades of American blood and treasure. There is no way I am going to let that happen. To date, not a single military or federal official has been held accountable. We need a committee to finally deliver the answers the American people, our allies, and veterans of Afghanistan deserve.”
Senator Mike Braun said, “There has been no accountability for President Biden’s calamitous withdrawal from Afghanistan which resulted in the tragic death of 13 U.S. service members. The American people deserve answers and transparency which is why I am joining my colleagues in calling for a Joint Select Committee to investigate the Afghanistan withdrawal.”
Senator John Hoeven said, “We continue pressing for answers and accountability from the Biden administration for their failed withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan. This bipartisan, bicameral Joint Select Committee on Afghanistan would focus on the outstanding issues and concerns that need to be addressed, while outlining our commitment to rescue those left behind, defend the United States’ national security interests and preserve our credibility to the rest of the world.”
Under Senator Scott’s bill, the bipartisan and bicameral Joint Select Committee shall conduct an investigation into the United States’ withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan and report its findings to Congress including:
- An analysis of any actions taken by the United States Government to proactively prepare for a successful withdrawal and any efforts to protect the safety of United States forces and neutralize threats in any withdrawal scenarios, including all timelines and advice provided by military leaders to President Biden and his national security team beginning in January 2021.
- A summary of any intelligence reports that indicated an imminent threat at the Hamid Karzai International Airport preceding the deadly attack on August 26, 2021, and the risks to United States and allied country civilians as well as Afghan partners for various United States withdrawal scenarios.
- A full and unredacted transcript of the phone call between President Biden and President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan on July 23, 2021.
- A description of the initial views and advice of the United States Armed Forces and the intelligence community given to the National Security Council and the White House before the decisions were taken regarding closure of United States military installations, withdrawal of United States assets, and withdrawal of United States military personnel.
- An assessment of United States assets, as well as any assets left behind by allies, that could now be used by the Taliban, ISIS-K, and other terrorist organizations operating within the region.
- An assessment of the discussions between the United States Government and allies supporting our efforts in Afghanistan and a timeline for decision making regarding the withdrawal of United States forces, Afghan allies and nationals and other refugees. This includes discussions on any efforts to work with U.S. allies to repatriate all foreign nationals desiring to return to their home countries, the vetting of each individual and any coordination the Departments of State and Defense engaged in to safeguard members of the Armed Forces from infectious diseases and terrorist threats.