'The families deserve to know if Biden manipulated the intelligence': Representative who lost both legs fighting in Afghanistan shows photos of all 13 US troops killed in Kabul blast to Secretary of State Blinken in powerful condemnation

 Several House Republicans have demanded that Secretary of State Antony Blinken resign, slamming him over the Biden administration's handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal.

In heated exchanges during Monday's Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, Rep. Brian Mast of Florida displayed photos of all 13 US troops killed in a suicide attack in Kabul, reading out their names, ages, and quotes from their family.

The congressman accused Blinken of lying about President Joe Biden's leaked call with the former Afghan president, saying ' they deserve to know if you all manipulated intelligence.' 

'Marine Lance Cpl. Dylan Merola, just 20, the family said he always had a smile on his face, was the kindest person. They deserve to know if that's why everything went so wrong, because you all manipulated intelligence,' Mast said in a typical tribute.

Mast accused Blinken of lying when he appeared to deny that Biden had urged the former Afghan president to publicly downplay the Taliban's ground advances, as a leaked transcript suggests.

'I don't want to hear from the secretary,' said Mast, an Army veteran who lost both legs in Afghanistan. 'He lies to us when he appears before us...We don't need to hear lies.' 


In heated exchanges during Monday's Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, Rep. Brian Mast of Florida displayed photos of all 13 US troops killed in a suicide attack in Kabul

In heated exchanges during Monday's Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, Rep. Brian Mast of Florida displayed photos of all 13 US troops killed in a suicide attack in Kabul

Blinken testified to the House Foreign Affairs Committee via a webcam on Monday

Blinken testified to the House Foreign Affairs Committee via a webcam on Monday

Mast, seen last month, is an Army veteran who lost both legs fighting in Afghanistan

Mast, seen last month, is an Army veteran who lost both legs fighting in Afghanistan


According to the leaked transcript of the July 23 call, Biden told former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani: 'I need not tell you the perception around the world and in parts of Afghanistan, I believe, is that things aren’t going well in terms of the fight against the Taliban.' 

'And there’s a need, whether it is true or not, there is a need to project a different picture,' Biden reportedly added.

The call came as the Afghan National Army crumbled and fled in the face of Taliban advances. The Taliban would capture Kabul in a matter of weeks after the call, trapping US forces at the Kabul airport. 

'What the congressman said is wrong, period,' Blinken said when finally allowed to reply, after Mast's time expired. 

Three other GOP members, Reps. Joe Wilson, Lee Zeldin, and Tim Burchett, also used the hearing to directly call for Blinken's resignation. 

Wilson, a South Carolina Republican, said the decision to pull out of Bagram Air Base on July 1, before the civilian evacuation was complete, led directly to to the deadly suicide attack that killed 13 US troops.  

'Your bizarre abandoning of Bagram Airfield led directly to 13 Marines murdered at Kabul,' Wilson said. 'You should resign.' 

Wilson blamed the administration for allowing the Taliban to retake Afghanistan, as well as the southern border crisis, which he said both contributed to threats against Americans.

'In American history, American families have never been at a greater risk of attack at home than today,' Wilson told Blinken. 'The global war on terrorism is not over, it has been moved from abroad to American homes. As the grateful father of an Afghanistan veteran, I especially see your actions as indefensible.' 

In heated exchanges during Monday's Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, Rep. Brian Mast of Florida accused Blinken of lying about Biden's leaked call with the former Afghan president

In heated exchanges during Monday's Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, Rep. Brian Mast of Florida accused Blinken of lying about Biden's leaked call with the former Afghan president

An honor guard carry the casket at the funeral of Navy Hospital Corpsman Max Soviak at the Edison High School football field on Monday in Milan, Ohio

An honor guard carry the casket at the funeral of Navy Hospital Corpsman Max Soviak at the Edison High School football field on Monday in Milan, Ohio

U.S. Marines carry the casket of Marine Corps Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo, who was among 13 U.S. service members killed in Kabul, in Lawrence, Massachusetts on Saturday

U.S. Marines carry the casket of Marine Corps Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo, who was among 13 U.S. service members killed in Kabul, in Lawrence, Massachusetts on Saturday

Rep Joe Wilson
Rep. Lee Zeldin
Rep. Tim Burchett

Three other GOP members (left to right), Reps. Joe Wilson, Lee Zeldin, and Tim Burchett, used the hearing to directly call for Blinken's resignation

'Even the most pessimistic assessments did not predict that government forces in Kabul would collapse while U.S. forces remained,' said Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the start of blockbuster hearings on the US pullout from Afghanistan

'Even the most pessimistic assessments did not predict that government forces in Kabul would collapse while U.S. forces remained,' said Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the start of blockbuster hearings on the US pullout from Afghanistan

Blinken hails 'extraordinary effort' of withdrawal from Afghanistan
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Zeldin, a New York Republican, also called for Blinken's resignation, saying : 'We have an administration that does not know how to confront an adversary, understanding that they do not respect weakness, they only respect strength.'

'And it is so greatly unfortunate, the consequences, and I believe that you, sir, should resign. That would be leadership.' 

Blinken, who testified to the House Foreign Affairs Committee via a webcam, also plans to testify in the Senate on Tuesday in the first of a round of blockbuster hearings on the calamitous conclusion to the 20-year war. 

Blinken revealed in his testimony on Monday that roughly 100 U.S. citizens remain in Afghanistan along with about 'several thousand' green card holders. 

He said 60 were offered seats on planes that left the country from Mazar-i-sharif last week, and that 30 accepted.

Of those US citizens who remain, some wanted 'more time to make arrangements,' some wanted to be with extended family, and some had 'medical issues.' 

At the hearing, Blinken sought to blunt complaints from angry GOP lawmakers about the administration´s response to the quick collapse of the Afghan government and, more specifically, the State Department´s actions to evacuate Americans and others.

Panel chair Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) asked 'what exactly a smooth withdrawal from a messy, chaotic war looks like'

Panel chair Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) asked 'what exactly a smooth withdrawal from a messy, chaotic war looks like'

Long-distance information: Blinken testified remotely Monday to the House Foreign Affairs Committee

Long-distance information: Blinken testified remotely Monday to the House Foreign Affairs Committee

Blinken echoed White House talking points blaming the Trump administration for the situation that President Joe Biden inherited in Afghanistan. 

'We inherited a deadline. We did not inherit a plan,' he said, maintaining that the administration had done the right thing in ending 20 years of war.

'We made the right decision in ending America´s longest-running war,' said Blinken, who will testify on Tuesday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Republicans savaged the withdrawal process as 'a disaster' and 'a disgrace.' And while some Democrats allowed that the operation could have been handled better, many used their questions to heap criticism on former President Donald Trump.

The State Department has come under heavy criticism from both sides for not doing enough and not acting quickly enough to get American citizens, legal residents and at-risk Afghans out of the country after the Taliban took control of Kabul on August 15. 

Some seeking to leave remain stranded there, although Blinken could not provide an exact number. 

'This was an unmitigated disaster of epic proportions,' said Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, the top Republican on the committee. 

He said the abrupt withdrawal along with leaving some Americans and Afghans behind had 'emboldened the Taliban' and other U.S. adversaries. 'I can summarize this in one word: betrayal.'  

McCaul asked why assets like the Bagram Air Base were not maintained and why the administration had not reached counterterrorism agreements with neighboring countries.

'This is a national security threat as China moves in. For all I know they make take over Bagram,' McCaul said.

A member of the Afghan security forces walks in the sprawling Bagram air base after the American military departed, in Parwan province north of Kabul on July 5

A member of the Afghan security forces walks in the sprawling Bagram air base after the American military departed, in Parwan province north of Kabul on July 5

Service members and veterans salute Lance Cpl. David Lee Espinoza, Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, as his body is carried into St. Patrick's Church for a Funeral Mass in Laredo, Texas

Service members and veterans salute Lance Cpl. David Lee Espinoza, Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, as his body is carried into St. Patrick's Church for a Funeral Mass in Laredo, Texas

The chairman of the committee, New York Rep. Gregory Meeks, urged his colleagues to keep politics out of their criticism. But he acknowledged that there had been problems. 'Could things have been done differently? Absolutely,' he said.

Republican congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, who has been ostracized by many in the GOP for his criticism of Trump, placed blame for the situation on both Trump and Biden. 'The Trump administration failed in the setup and the Biden administration failed in the execution,' Kinzinger said.

Blinken tried to calmly deflect allegations of unpreparedness by noting that the Biden administration had inherited a U.S.-Taliban peace deal from its predecessor, along with a languishing program to grant visas to Afghans who had worked for the U.S. government.

Blinken, who had publicly predicted in June that a complete Taliban takeover would not happen 'from a Friday to a Monday,' also tried to preempt criticism of the prediction by noting that no one in the U.S. government expected the Afghan government to fall as quickly as it did.

'Even the most pessimistic assessments did not predict that government forces in Kabul would collapse while U.S. forces remained,' Blinken said in prepared remarks released ahead of his appearance. He also defended the evacuation effort, saying it succeeded despite near insurmountable odds.

'The evacuation was an extraordinary effort - under the most difficult conditions imaginable - by our diplomats, military, and intelligence professionals,' he said. 'In the end, we completed one of the biggest airlifts in history, with 124,000 people evacuated to safety.'

But Republicans, in particular, have been demanding answers as to why American citizens were left behind in the chaotic days and weeks before the military completed its withdrawal on Aug. 30.


In a preview of GOP questions, the Republican National Committee released a statement earlier Monday with the banner headline 'Fire Blinken,' demanding that he be held to account for what it described as a litany of failings.

After the more than five-hour hearing concluded, the GOP committee doubled down on its demand.

'Today´s hearing makes Blinken´s failures and lies abundantly clear,' RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said. 'Biden has no choice but to fire Blinken, hold him accountable, and take responsibility for the disaster he created.'

Some Republicans appeared to have be spoiling for a fight with the generally unflappable Blinken. Rep. Bryan Mast of Florida accused Blinken of lying when he denied that intelligence had been manipulated to support Biden's desire to withdraw U.S. troops. 'I do not believe a word you have said,' he told Blinken.

In a rare show of temper, Blinken replied: 'Simply put, what you said congressman, is dead wrong.'

Blinken is very close to Biden and his job as America's top diplomat is almost certainly safe, but criticism of the administration's handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal has not been limited to Republicans.

Numerous Democrats have also questioned the policy and expressed concern about stranded Americans, green card holders and Afghans who could face retaliation from the Taliban because of their work or ties to the U.S. government over the past 20 years.

State Department officials have acknowledged that the congressional hearings could be contentious and possibly ugly, but many remain convinced the U.S. military and other officials did the best they could under extremely trying circumstances - including the evacuation of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul and the crush of thousands of desperate people at Kabul's airport seeking to leave the country. 

'The families deserve to know if Biden manipulated the intelligence': Representative who lost both legs fighting in Afghanistan shows photos of all 13 US troops killed in Kabul blast to Secretary of State Blinken in powerful condemnation 'The families deserve to know if Biden manipulated the intelligence': Representative who lost both legs fighting in Afghanistan shows photos of all 13 US troops killed in Kabul blast to Secretary of State Blinken in powerful condemnation Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 07:24 Rating: 5

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