UPDATED 10:17 AM PT – Saturday, October 30, 2021
The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction claims several federal agencies are trying to censor his reporting on the 20-year-war in the country. During a speech Friday, John Sopko said the State Department and Pentagon made several requests to redact items from their reports.
“Shortly after the fall of Kabul, the State Department wrote to me and other oversight agencies requesting to ‘temporarily suspend access’ to all ‘audit, inspection, and financial audit reports’ on our website,” he explained. “Because the Department was afraid that information included in those reports could put Afghan allies at risk.”
Sopko alleged that the State Department made around 2,400 requests following Joe Biden’s botched withdrawal from Afghanistan. Additionally, he said the Department of Defense has been leaning on him to redact information since the Obama administration to block the release of data on casualties and operational deficiencies.
“In essence, nearly all the information you needed to know to determine whether the Afghan security forces were a real fighting force or a house of cards waiting to fall,” Sopko continued. “In light of recent events, it is not surprising that the Afghan government, and likely some in DOD, wanted to keep that information under lock and key.”
.@SIGARHQ John Sopko: "If better monitoring & evaluation processes had been in place…many of the problems that contributed to the rapid collapse of the Afghan state could have been corrected. Measuring success by focusing on dollars and cents is no substitute for common sense." pic.twitter.com/7rKd9qBC0k
— CSPAN (@cspan) October 6, 2021
Sopko urged journalists, members of Congress and bureaucrats to come together to accurately inform the American taxpayer about the war that cost nearly $2.5 trillion.