Ex-CIA officer slams two ‘disgraceful’ congressmen who made surprise visit to Kabul airport on ‘Instagram trip’

Two members of Congress have come under fire for taking an unannounced trip to Acceptance The airport “to conduct oversight” on the evacuation process.

Democrat Seth Moulton Massachusetts And republican Peter Meijer or Michigan As members of Congress, he said in a joint statement, “it is their duty to provide oversight to the executive branch.”

They added, “We conducted this visit in secret, and did not talk about it until after we left, to reduce the risks and disturbances to people on the ground, and because we were there to gather information, not to stand on the ground.”

Former CIA analyst and senior FBI intelligence advisor Philip Mudd told CNN that members of Congress, without the support of their leadership, decided to “bypass Disneyland and take an Instagram trip to Afghanistan because they wanted some eye candy for a group of voters.” a house Loudspeaker Nancy Pelosi The minority leader in the House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy to remove Mr. Moulton and Mr. Major from their committees and described the visit as “reprehensible”.

US officials said Ministry of Foreign Affairs The US military had to use some of their resources to ensure their security and provide information to Mr. Moulton and Mr. Major, The Associated Press reported.

Members of Congress stayed at the airport for several hours, flying in and out on chartered planes.

President Joe Biden He said on Tuesday that his administration would meet its August 31 deadline for US troop withdrawals and that evacuations of Americans and some Afghans would be over by then.

Mr. Moulton tweeted that he and Mr. Major, both Iraq War veterans, had come to Kabul “wanting, like most veterans, to push the president to extend” the deadline.

“We made this visit in secret to reduce the risk and impact on the mission and insisted on leaving in a plane that was not full, in a crew seat so that we would not take a seat from someone else,” Mr. Moulton said. added.

“After speaking with leaders on the ground and seeing the situation here, it is clear that since we started the evacuation process so late, no matter what we do, we will not get everyone out on time, even by 9/11. It is frustrating that getting our people out depends on maintaining The current strange relationship with the Taliban.

After meeting the Marines, [and] custom country [Department] Officials on Earth – We want the world to know first [and] Above all, we have never been so proud of being Americans.”

“Washington should be ashamed of the position we have placed our service members in, but they represent the best in America,” the representatives said in their statement.

White House press secretary Jin Psaki He said on Tuesday that Biden The administration advises “against any American, whether elected or not, who attempts to travel to Kabul now.”

Following requests from the Departments of Defense and State, Ms. Pelosi wrote a letter to their colleagues on Tuesday urging them not to go to Afghanistan.

“Members’ travel to…Afghanistan and neighboring countries will unnecessarily preclude the resources required from the priority mission of safely and rapidly evacuating America and Afghans at risk from Afghanistan,” she said.

Moulton, a former US Marine, has been a vocal critic of the US Navy Iraq war. Mr. Major was sent to Iraq as part of the Army Reserve and later did humanitarian work Afghanistan with a non-governmental organization.

State Department, Defense Department and White House officials resented the visit due to its lack of coordination with diplomats and military leaders, according to three officials familiar with the matter, The Associated Press reported.

Officials said military personnel on the ground were told to visit the lawmakers as their flight was about to arrive.

Administration officials said the visit was deemed unhelpful and distracting to soldiers on the ground trying to get the people out.

In her statement, Pelosi said she wanted to “reaffirm that the Departments of Defense and State have asked members not to travel to Afghanistan and the region during this period of danger. Ensuring the safe and timely evacuation of individuals at risk requires the full focus and attention of the U.S. military and diplomatic teams on the ground in Afghanistan.” “.

Tim Pepa, a spokesman for Moulton, said the actors paid out of pocket for flights to the UAE and took military flights from there to Kabul, Politico mentioned.

Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and former State Department official Sarah Jacobs, A California “Whether it’s Haiti or Afghanistan, taking space in a disaster zone for ego helps no one,” a Democrat wrote on Twitter.

independent Contact Mr. Moulton and Mr. Major for comment.

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