Monday, September 27, 2021

Sen. Menendez summons Biden’s defense secretary

A Democrat senator on Tuesday issued a subpoena for Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin after a Biden administration official did not attend a congressional hearing.

Austin was absent for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in Washington, prompting criticism from the top Democrats and Republicans on the panel.

“I am deeply disappointed that Secretary Austin declined our request to testify today,” said panel chairman Sen. Bob Menendez (DNJ) in his inaugural address.

“A full account of the US response to the crisis is not complete without the Pentagon, especially when it comes to understanding the complete collapse of the US-trained and funded Afghan military. His decision not to appear will affect my personal judgment about the Defense Department nominees. I expect the Secretary to take advantage of himself for the Committee in the future, and if he does not, I may consider using the Committee’s power of summons to compel him and others to testify , “They said.

Republican Sen. Jim Rish (R-Idaho), ranking the committee, also noted Austin’s absence.

Risk welcomed Secretary of State Antony Blinken and told him he was “doing the right thing” by answering the panel’s questions.

“However, like the Speaker, I am disappointed that some of your colleagues refused to testify, especially Secretary Austin. There are questions we really need to answer and it is disappointing that they refused to testify. , “They said.

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told The Epoch Times in an email that Austin had “conflicting commitments” that prevented his appearance before a Senate panel.

“The secretary thanked President Menendez for his interest in appearing today and regrets that conflicting commitments made that attendance impractical. He greatly respects the oversight role of Congress, and he is due later this month. We look forward to testifying before the Senate and House Armed Services committees,” Kirby said.

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Yug Times Photos
Committee Chairman Sen. Bob Menendez (DNJ) questions US Secretary of State Antony Blinken during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on September 14, 2021 in Washington. (Drew Anger/Getty Images)

Austin and two top US generals are scheduled to testify to the Senate Armed Services Committee on September 28. There is currently no hearing scheduled for the House Armed Services Committee.

Neither Austin nor the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, have appeared before Congress since the failed withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Members on both sides have defended what emerged, describing it as a failure.

Menendez said Tuesday that the return was “clearly and fatally flawed.” Risk characterized it as a “disappointing failure”.

Blinken testified that the withdrawal process was going smoothly until US-backed Afghan forces failed to seize the country from the Taliban, triggering a frantic pullout that lasted 17 days and left at least 150 Americans stranded. ended up being.

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“Even the most pessimistic assessment did not predict that government forces in Kabul would collapse, while US forces would remain. Their focus was on what would happen after the United States withdrew since September.” As General Milley has said, I or anyone else has not signaled the collapse of this army and this government in 11 days,” Blinken said.

He called the evacuation “an extraordinary effort” and praised the 13 American soldiers killed in an ISIS terrorist attack on a US-held airport in Kabul.

Zachary Stebero

Zachary Steber covers US news including politics and court cases. He started out as a New York City subway reporter at The Epoch Times.

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This News Originally From – The Epoch Times

Sen. Menendez summons Biden's defense secretary
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