At the time of the Afghanistan withdrawal, Biden administration officials said behind closed doors that secretary of state Antony Blinken and national security advisor Jake Sullivan “don’t give a fuck” about rescuing Americans from the clutches of the Taliban.
The admission came on a late August 2021 phone call held between the Department of Defense and congressional Democrats, based on The Spectator’s review of contemporaneous text messages. During the conversation, a Pentagon official acknowledged in response to frustration from Democrats that two of the senior-most officials working on the evacuation — Blinken and Sullivan — were indifferent to the plight of their fellow Americans.
The Biden administration’s failures put countless lives at stake on the ground, and the best a lot of Democratic representatives could do was ask their Republican counterparts to save the lives of their constituents. In one poignant case, a Democratic congressman relied on a GOP office active in the evacuation of American citizens to evacuate a bus full of nuns from Afghanistan, those who worked on the evacuation confirmed to The Spectator.
While Democrats were more than willing to acknowledge the failures on the ground to their Republican counterparts behind the scenes, the Democratic Party marched publicly in lockstep with the White House — causing Republicans huge consternation. “Fuck them,” one of the GOP staff working on rescuing Americans said of his counterparts on the other side of the aisle. “They wanted their constituents out, just wanted us to do it for them once they realized the White House lied to everybody. And the omertà is always in force. Expose Biden and you might as well burn a Qur’an in Mecca.”
It’s unclear whether the Pentagon official was referring to not “giving a fuck” about the complaints from Congress or about the problem of abandoned Americans itself.
On a different call in early 2022, one of the State Department’s Coordinators for Afghan Relocation Efforts’ liaisons to the legislative branch, Courtnay Rosenberger, told a staffer that her department isn’t interested in solutions. This admission came when one staffer told CARE, “I’m just trying to find solutions.”
Rosenberger replied, according to that staffer, “I don’t want solutions,” contemporary texts show. “They didn’t care, they wanted to put this whole thing behind them, they didn’t want to put any work into it,” that staffer told The Spectator. Rosenberger always was on Zoom in “her nice DC apartment” with a latte, he said.
This lack of care was manifested, the staffer said, in how the State Department would “give ’em [Americans stranded in Afghanistan] one or two phone calls and then just forget about them.”
Frustrations with CARE still run deep. Another American involved in rescue efforts told The Spectator that CARE is “a bunch of apathetic assholes who want to just shove Americans under the rug probably because they’re Afghan American and not ’merican-American.”
“CARE refused to move quickly, refused to think creatively or outside the box, had very strict parameters of whom they would get out, even if a fucking congressional office vouched for the terp [interpreter],” he said.
Following the rapid Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, a bipartisan congressional delegation that included Representative Darrell Issa went to Qatar in October 2021 to review the refugee situation. But, the congressman says, they were “denied any access to historic or current holding areas for refugees, and denied us any access to current refugees, including those that may be from our home or heading towards San Diego or other areas.”
During their visit, they learned that if Afghans didn’t have documents, they were given “paper passports,” where they were told to simply write their names and birthdays. The reality is that they could write anything they want with no accountability. Issa learned that roughly 60 percent of those flown to American either had “no identification documentation at all” or “had identification that did not per se, connect them to the United States”; these Afghans were flown to America with minimal identification while far too many of those with firm ties to America were left in a country where the Taliban was actively hunting them down.
David Cook, a decorated Army veteran who now runs the Special Operations Association of America, told The Spectator that a Biden State Department official who was detailed to the Department of Health and Human Services informed him that tens of thousands of people evacuated from Afghanistan to America are now totally unaccounted for. “We don’t know,” Cook recounted the official saying. Cook characterized the official’s remarks as “we don’t know where they are; we brought ’em all here, and they disappeared.”
A State Department spokesperson told The Spectator: “The president and this administration have made clear that our commitment to eligible Afghans is enduring. We continue to fulfill our special obligation to the brave Afghans who stood side-by-side with us for two decades — working to relocate them and their family members to the United States. When the State Department is made aware of US citizens in Afghanistan, we provide assistance as requested to facilitate their relocation when they are ready. We will continue our efforts to facilitate the safe departure of US citizens, LPRs and other eligible individuals and families.”
The Department of Defense referred The Spectator to Secretary Austin’s remarks to the Senate Armed Services Committee in September 2021: “We are still working to get Americans out who wish to leave. We did not get out all of our Afghan allies enrolled in the Special Immigrant Visa program. We take that very seriously. That is why we are working across the interagency to continue facilitating their departure. Even with no military presence on the ground, that part of our mission is not over.”
The Department of Homeland Security did not respond to a request for comment.
Another long-rumored call took place within weeks of the Biden surrender between Representative Katie Porter’s staff and a reporter who was interested in covering Afghanistan, only to be told by Porter’s office that “we don’t do Afghanistan.” The reporter was so taken aback by the conversation that she relayed the conversation to a Hill staffer working on Afghanistan evacuations.
Porter’s office, for its part, told The Spectator that this is “incorrect.” Her communications director, Jordan Wong, said that her office “began casework for dozens of Orange County families, successfully helping at least four refugees find safety with their relatives in the United States.”
The revelations raise questions about how the present administration and congressional Democrats respond to international incidents, at a particularly volatile time in the Middle East and Central Asia.