WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18) today pressed the Deputy Secretary for Management and Resources of the Department of State, Brian P. McKeon, on the decision to end a Trump-era crisis planning bureau during the catastrophic withdrawal from Afghanistan and the department’s refusal to share planning documents with Congress.
“In the two months since the last troop left Afghanistan, no member of the Biden Administration has stepped up and accepted responsibility,” Rep. Mast said. “The American people deserve answers. What is the Administration trying so hard to hide?”
In a memo dated June of 2021, Deputy Secretary McKeon, who was responsible for the Contingency and Crisis Response Bureau (CCR), advocated for disbanding the bureau. The CCR was created in order to spearhead “the development, resourcing, deployment, maintenance, and oversight of Department’s medical, aviation, and logistics support capabilities” in order to fulfil the State Department’s legal obligation to “provide for the safe and efficient evacuation” of government employees and U.S. citizens “when their lives are endangered.”
When asked about the decision to disband the CCR in a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, McKeon evaded the questions and could not point to evidence that supported his decision despite thousands of Americans held hostage behind enemy lines throughout the withdrawal and hundreds still stranded.
Later on, McKeon refused to commit to transmit classified planning documents to the Foreign Affairs Committee Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF), a classified setting designed to allow for viewing and discussion of sensitive materials.
Watch the full exchange here.