Florida Rep. Mike Waltz (R) directed a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin this week, requesting a House Armed Services Committee briefing. The briefing would discuss how the Department of Defense “secured, archived, and standardized operational data and intelligence gathered over the past two decades in Afghanistan as required by last year’s defense bill.”
Waltz has pressed the Biden administration in the past concerning Afghanistan, and in a statement regarding the letter, the Florida Republican further warns of the upheaval that could come.
“It’s been over a year since the failed withdrawal from Afghanistan and seven months past the Department of Defense’s mandated briefing deadline,” said Waltz, expressing that he’s “becoming more and more concerned that during and since the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, the critical data and intelligence collected in Afghanistan was left behind, lost, or misplaced. Meanwhile, Al-Qaeda and ISIS are reconstituting in Afghanistan and continue to pose a real threat to our country.”
“We have no bases or allies in the region,” Waltz said, so “it is critical we secure, preserve, and make accessible the military services the information collected, especially if we have to send soldiers back in the future.”
Waltz, a veteran, has expressed in the past that the withdrawal from Afghanistan was an “incompetent" move, which led to issues that have been exacerbated since the troops withdrew.
In the letter, Waltz argues that, as of October, it is exactly “seven months past the statutory deadline and over a year since the failed Afghanistan withdrawal,” expressing his disappointment that the Committee has not received the mandatory briefing.
“We will once again be facing the prospect of terrorist attacks on American interests abroad and possibly homeland itself,” Waltz concluded, urging the Department to share its efforts “to secure and preserve operational data from the Afghanistan War.”