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Gen. Milley and Gen. Austin blame the State Dept. for botched withdrawal

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According to the senior Pentagon officials, the State Department is actually to blame for the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley and Defense Secretary Gen. Austin Lloyd said as much to House Armed Services Committee Wednesday. It was their second day of hearings with the committee.

“We provide an input, as I said in my opening statement, to the State Department,” Austin said. But he admitted the Ghani administration warned that “if they withdrew American citizens and SIV applicants at a pace that was too fast, it would cause a collapse of the government that we were trying to prevent.” 

“We certainly would have liked to see it go faster or sooner,” Austin said. “But, again, they had a number of things to think through as well.” 

Then, Milley took credit for his effective withdrawal of the troops in July. “I just want to be clear – we’re talking about two different missions,” Milley said. “The retrograde of troops . . . that is complete by mid-July, and that was done, actually, without any significant incident. And that’s the handover of 11 bases, the bringing out of a lot of equipment . . . that was done under the command of Gen. Miller.” Gen. Austin Scott Miller was the top general in Afghanistan before he transferred his authorities to Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, of US Central Command.

“Noncombatant evacuation operation is different,” Milley said, referring all withdrawals in late July and August. “Noncombat operation – that was done under conditions of great volatility, great violence, great threat.” 

Ultimately, the U.S. military airlifted over 120,000 noncombatants between July and August. Their last airlift was on August 30th.

You can follow Jenny Goldsberry on Twitter @jennyjournalism.

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Former FBI official investigating Trump indicted on charges of working for Russian Oligarch he was investigating

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The former FBI official involved in the investigation into the made up Trump-Russia collusion has been charged with…wait for it…Russia collusion. Former FBI official Charles McGonigal was charged with “violating sanctions and collaborating with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.”

The Department of Justice made the announcement Monday. “Charles McGonigal, a former high-level FBI official, and Sergey Shestakov, a Court interpreter, violated U.S. sanctions by agreeing to provide services to Oleg Deripaska, a sanctioned Russian oligarch” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams wrote in the released statement.

“Russian oligarchs like Oleg Deripaska perform global malign influence on behalf of the Kremlin and are associated with acts of bribery, extortion, and violence,” FBI Assistant Director in Charge Michael Driscoll noted in a statement.  “There are no exceptions for anyone, including a former FBI official like Mr. McGonigal.”

According to federal prosecutors, McGonigal received “concealed payments” from a Russian intelligence officer in exchange for his help in having sanctions targeting Deripaska lifted. “McGonigal is being charged by the Federal District in Manhattan with additional counts relating to money laundering and conspiracy” reports National Review.

Both McGonigal and Shestakov had “previously worked with Deripaska to attempt to have his sanctions removed, and, as public servants, they should have known better,” Williams’ statement added.

McGonigal’s legal team announced their plans to enter a plea of not guilty before a federal court appearance. Seth DuCharme, head of McGonigal’s legal team old the New York Times “Charlie served the United States capably, effectively, for decades.”

“We have closely reviewed the accusations made by the government and we look forward to receiving discovery so we can get a view on what the evidence is upon which the government intends to rely” DuCharme added.

McGonigal was arrested at JFK Airport in New York City on Saturday upon returning from recent travels to Sri Lanka.

 

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