Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), the ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has moved to provide greater Congressional investigation and oversight into the Biden administration’s disastrous withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Afghanistan. McCaul’s office announced this week that he had hired former CNN reporter Ryan Browne to investigate the withdrawal.
Browne has worked previously at the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress as the director of international security studies. In that position, he investigated and studied NATO’s role in the Afghanistan war. Browne was a contractor with the U.S. Army embedded as an advisor to the Afghan National Army between 2011 and 2013. He worked as a national security reporter for CNN from 2015 until this past January.
McCaul’s announcement came as Biden’s Secretary of State Antony Blinken concluded two days of testimony before the House and Senate Foreign Relations Committees. As the lengthy hearings demonstrated that Congressional Democrats are not interested in holding the Biden administration responsible for the withdrawal’s circumstances, McCaul took the initiative in conducting a substantial probe.
While some Democrats questioned Blinken aggressively, including Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), others took pains to defend the administration while blaming Biden’s poor choices at the feet of former President Donald Trump.
McCaul noted that Democrats in Congress had promised to conduct thorough investigations of the White House while demonstrating their lack of commitment to the process.
He told National Review about the expected focus of Browne’s investigative mission. He said that many questions remain unanswered about the decisions made leading up to the final withdrawal, especially regarding the abandonment of Bagram Air Base and withdrawing troops before American civilians and Afghan allies had been safely evacuated.
The Congressman also said he wants to know why the U.S. did not have counterterrorism strike agreements formalized with neighboring countries and allies before the withdrawal. He also expects to learn about the events inside the airport at Kabul as the chaotic evacuation process goes forward. He cited as-yet unsubstantiated reports that some Americans could not enter the airport’s gates even after getting past Taliban checkpoints outside the perimeter.
McCaul also expressed great interest in learning what the State Department is currently doing to complete the evacuation of the American citizens still stranded in the war-torn country now entirely controlled by the Taliban.