Watchdog probing possible violations in plan to employ public land and facilities for celebration of Afghanistan humiliation
Today, Protect the Public’s Trust announced an investigation into reports the Biden Administration was planning to use public lands for a “9/11 Victory Lap” celebrating, on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan. Thirteen American service members and scores of Afghans were killed in a terrorist attack during the disastrous withdrawal, which also left hundreds of American citizens and thousands of NATO and Afghan allies stranded in the country that is now completely controlled by the Taliban.
Media reports indicate the President’s insistence on the August 31 deadline for removal of all troops from the country was driven by the desire to use the notable anniversary as an occasion to make political hay out of his administration’s ending of America’s longest war. This artificially imposed deadline was in part responsible for the chaotic and deadly evacuation that failed to extract thousands of those the President had promised to get out of the country before military forces departed. If these actions were undertaken for political purposes with the assistance of political appointees and the use of public lands and other government resources, they may have constituted violations of the law. The American public deserves to know if political considerations were involved in this humiliating episode in U.S. history and to what extent officials of the agency that oversees America’s public lands (the Department of the Interior) aided these efforts.
“The botched withdrawal from Afghanistan was a catastrophe for which the toll continues to climb, including the tragic loss of our most precious resource – thirteen of our brave young men and women in uniform,” stated Director of Protect the Public’s Trust Michael Chamberlain. “Thousands of others the President had promised to not leave behind are now stranded at the mercy of the Taliban and other terrorist organizations. It may take a generation, if ever, for the U.S. to recover from the devastating loss of trust, prestige and influence around the world from this humiliation. The American public deserves to know what role Secretary Haaland and her political leadership team played in attempting to facilitate this victory lap and if public lands, employees and other federal resources were employed to further political activities.”