Friday, November 5, 2021

Afghanistan Watchdog Accuses State Dept of 'bizarre' Attempt to Censor Embarrassing Information; State Dept. Sought ‘wholesale’ Redactions of Afghanistan Reports

Afghanistan watchdog accuses State Department of 'bizarre' attempt to censor embarrassing information:
State Department officials attempted to censor watchdog reports on U.S. efforts in Afghanistan as Taliban militants swept across the country, according to a top oversight official.
“Some of the requests were bizarre, to say the least,” Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John Ropko said Friday. “State requested we redact Ashraf Ghani’s name from our reports. While I’m sure the former president may wish to be excised from the annals of history, I don’t believe he faces any threats simply from being referenced by SIGAR.”
The requests extended a pattern of information suppression that the auditor described as “outrageous” and “offensive.” The habit of hiding embarrassing information damaged public debates about the conduct of the war and set the stage for the tragic chaos of the final evacuation from Kabul’s international airport.
“In my opinion, the full picture of what happened in August, and all the warning signs that could have predicted the outcome, will only be revealed if the information that the departments of Defense and State have already restricted from public release is made available,” Ropko said in his prepared remarks. “But as SIGAR has experienced all too often in the past, good intentions for transparency by senior leaders are frequently thwarted by bureaucratic inertia or fear of the public knowing the truth.” --->READ MORE HERE
St Sgt. Victor Mancilla/US Marine Corps via AP 
Watchdog: State Dept. sought ‘wholesale’ redactions of Afghanistan reports:
The State Department sought to redact “wholesale” public reports by the U.S. inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction during the Biden administration’s chaotic withdrawal from Kabul, the watchdog said Friday.
Special Inspector General John Sopko said the State Department requested on Aug. 19 that his office remove 2,400 items from publicly available reports “based on unspecified privacy concerns.” The list included such information as the name of former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and a reference in one report to Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Mr. Sopko called the requests baffling but said his office nevertheless undertook a detailed review of the material that the administration wanted to be removed. He said all but four minor requests were found to be “baseless.”
He called the administration’s requests “a cautionary tale of why oversight agencies need to question an all-too-common impulse to remove information from congressional and public view with little to no basis in fact or law.”
In response, the State Department told Mr. Sopko’s office it would no longer make such requests. --->READ MORE HERE
Follow link to a related story below:

Pentagon deletes Afghan war photos from Defense Department website

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