‘After Months Of Requests’: CBS Reporter Confronts Kirby On Timing Of Afghanistan Report’s Release

[Screenshot/Rumble/White House press briefing]

Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
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CBS News senior White House correspondent Ed O’Keefe confronted White House national security spokesperson John Kirby on the timing of the Afghanistan withdrawal report’s release.

President Joe Biden released a report Thursday detailing the decisions and planning behind the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021. The report largely points fingers at former President Donald Trump’s administration for the “challenges” in the botched process.

“I think I speak on behalf of my colleagues in this room when we want the record to reflect,” O’Keefe said. “This was sent to us about 10 minutes before the briefing began, with little notice, and it’s the very definition of a modern major holiday news dump. You’re releasing this at the beginning of the high holidays, and after months of requests from Republicans and the broader public. So, why today, and is this all we get? Is this a response to the studies that were done by the agencies, or is this considered a summary of it?”

“This is the result of months and months of work by individual agencies who were participating in the withdrawal to voluntarily review that withdrawal, which they did, and they worked through that,” Kirby replied. “These documents are classified, and we felt it was the responsible thing to do, after those reviews were done, to then run a process across the administration, to take a look at those reviews ourselves, across the interagency, work our way through it and then provide them to the relevant committees and leaders on the Hill, which we did today.”

“No effort here to try to obfuscate or try to bury something,” Kirby continued. “It’s an effort to try to be as open, as transparent as we can.”

The document says Biden “received and accepted” the advice of top national security officials to end the withdrawal Aug. 31, prompting O’Keefe to ask Kirby about the definition of a “top national security official.” Kirby said Biden “specifically asked” his team for advice and information on the process and whether to “extend past the 31st.”

The review criticized Trump for demanding talks with the Taliban and negotiating the withdrawal deadline for May 1, as well as not providing Biden with plans on how to finish the process. O’Keefe asked if the Biden administration will take any “accountability” for the events of that day. (RELATED: Doocy Asks Kirby Point-Blank Who Will ‘Get Fired’ Over Afghanistan Withdrawal)

Kirby reiterated that the agencies voluntarily conducted a review and wrote the report to send to Congress and the public about the withdrawal, which he argued shows Biden is taking the “lessons” from the withdrawal “seriously.”

“I would argue that the very fact … that the agencies voluntarily decided to go conduct after action news — nobody told them to do that. That wasn’t legislated by Congress, they did that on their own,” Kirby said.

The withdrawal left 13 U.S. service members dead following a suicide bombing outside of the Kabul airport during the U.S. evacuation.