CNN, NBC Press Biden Admin Officials on Giving Taliban a 'Kill List' of Names


Late last week, Politico put out a disturbing report that the Biden administration – desperate to play nice with murderous terrorists – handed over what a Pentagon official called a “kill list” of American and Afghan allies’ names to the Taliban. Obviously, Americans were outraged and CNN anchor Jake Tapper and NBC political director Chuck Todd grilled National Security advisor Jake Sullivan and Secretary of State Antony Blinken during their respective Sunday shows, State of the Union and Meet the Press.

There was some Jake-on-Jake fighting as Tapper came out swinging when he broached the subject with Sullivan early in his program. “I understand the U.S. has relied upon the Taliban for this evacuation process. But with all due respect, a lot of these Afghan SIVs – you know better than I – they think the Taliban is going to kill them and you’ve given them a list of their names,” he chided.

“Jake, we’ve aggressively, decisively disputed that report. We have given no list of all the American SIV holders to the Taliban or any other kind of big list,” Sullivan shot back.

Notice how he said they didn’t turn over a “big list.” The crux of his argument was that they allegedly didn’t hand over every name all at once or in large batches:

But some idea that we’re handing over databases or lists to the Taliban is simply unfounded and inaccurate. What we are doing is working with – for discreet groups of individuals to get them on to the airfield. That has allowed us to literally move thousands and tens of thousands of people through Kabul to the airport and out of the country.

 

 

Tapper picked up on Sullivan’s phrasing too and dove in deeper for some answers. “Are you disputing that any of this information was given or are you just disputing it was a huge, comprehensive list,” he demanded to know. “I mean, maybe there was a smaller list and those SIVs did not get into the airport. Is there any chance that that happened?”

Of course, Sullivan came back with an answer that he obviously felt kept him protected from the possible reality of the situation (Click “expand”):

And we have not, to my knowledge, had instances where when we have coordinated to get a particular movement on to the airfield outside of HKIA [Hamid Karzai International Airport] that we have been unable to get that group that we, the United States government, has said this is a priority for us. We need to move it on to the airfield.

Of course, there have been people turned away at Taliban checkpoints. And we are now working to try to resolve all of those cases so that if there is anyone eligible to come to the United States, we’re able to get them here.

“There is no such, quote, unquote, ‘kill list.’ … It is nonsense, it is irresponsible and unfounded reporting,” Sullivan huffed.

Over on NBC, Todd tried to disarm some of Blinken’s presumed objections with the kill list report by noting “you think some of this has been a bit over-reported or exaggerated.” But he dug in on fears of American allies: “[H]ow can you be sure any list you share of Afghans who helped Americans won’t be used for horrendous reasons by the Haqqani network or others?”

Blinken tried to argue as Sullivan did that there was no list of Americans and allies provided to the Taliban. But Todd cut him off and asked “what was shared,” and Blinken then admitted names were given:

BLINKEN: Chuck, it’s simply not the case. The idea that we’ve done anything to put at further risk those that were trying to help leave the country is simply wrong. And the idea that we shared lists of Americans or others with the Taliban is simply wrong.

TODD: What was shared?

BLINKEN: So, in specific instances, when you’re trying to get a bus or a group of people through and you need to show a manifest to do that, because particularly in cases where people don’t have the necessary credentials on them or documents on them, then you’ll share names of the lists of people on the bus so they can be assured those are the people we’re looking to bring in.

“And to the extent in an individual case with a particular group or a bus, to verify that the people on the bus or in that group were people who were supposed to come out,” he added. “But the idea that we put anyone in any further jeopardy is simply wrong.”

Todd followed up with a question about what was it we were promising the Taliban to get them to cooperate. “Is it money? Is it money we have frozen right now that they perhaps might be able to use for governing?”

The Secretary claimed nothing had been promised but said the Taliban knew the U.S. and the world had “very significant expectations.”

The transcripts are below, click “expand” to read:

CNN’s State of the Union
August 29, 2021
9:08:38 a.m. Eastern

(…)

JAKE TAPPER: You talked about the commitment to Afghan special immigrant visa applicants. There was a report that the Biden administration has not disputed that U.S. government employees gave a list of Afghan SIVs, who the U.S. was trying to evacuate, to the Taliban so as to allow them through checkpoints.

I understand the U.S. has relied upon the Taliban for this evacuation process. But with all due respect, a lot of these Afghan SIVs – you know better than I – they think the Taliban is going to kill them and you’ve given them a list of their names.

JAKE SULLIVAN (National Security Advisor): Jake, we’ve aggressively, decisively disputed that report. We have given no list of all the American SIV holders to the Taliban or any other kind of big list.

What your viewers need to understand is that the way we are moving, thousands and thousands of Afghans at risk to the airport, is asking them to muster, many of them on buses, bringing them to the airport. And then we work with the Taliban, group-by-group bus-by-bus to get them through the Taliban checkpoints and on to the airport compound.

That is the type of coordination we’ve done with the Taliban. That has resulted in journalists, and women, and pilots, and other SIVs being able to get through and to get on planes and out of the country.

But some idea that we’re handing over databases or lists to the Taliban is simply unfounded and inaccurate. What we are doing is working with – for discreet groups of individuals to get them on to the airfield. That has allowed us to literally move thousands and tens of thousands of people through Kabul to the airport and out of the country.

TAPPER: Well, there was a Pentagon official in that report that referred to this as a kill list. Are you disputing that any of this information was given or are you just disputing it was a huge, comprehensive list? I mean, maybe there was a smaller list and those SIVs did not get into the airport. Is there any chance that that happened?

SULLIVAN: I have just laid out for you the process that we have used, which is to have groups of people move to locations that we have identified, to work with the Taliban to get them through those locations and to the airport.

And we have not, to my knowledge, had instances where when we have coordinated to get a particular movement on to the airfield outside of HKIA [Hamid Karzai International Airport] that we have been unable to get that group that we, the United States government, has said this is a priority for us. We need to move it on to the airfield.

Of course, there have been people turned away at Taliban checkpoints. And we are now working to try to resolve all of those cases so that if there is anyone eligible to come to the United States, we’re able to get them here.

But the idea of what you just quoted from a Pentagon official is not — flat out not correct. There is no such, quote, unquote, “kill list.” That is – It is nonsense, it is irresponsible and unfounded reporting.

(…)

NBC’s Meet the Press
August 29, 2021
10:40:07 a.m. Eastern

(…)

CHUCK TODD: I want to ask about this idea that some of these lists of people that you’re trying to get out of the country you’ve had to give to the Taliban. And I know you guys have some – that you think some of this has been a bit over-reported or exaggerated. But given the Haqqani network’s ties to the Taliban, how can you be sure any list you share of Afghans who helped Americans won’t be used for horrendous reasons by the Haqqani network or others?

SEC. ANTONY BLINKEN: Chuck, it’s simply not the case. The idea that we’ve done anything to put at further risk those that were trying to help leave the country is simply wrong. And the idea that we shared lists of Americans or others with the Taliban is simply wrong.

TODD: What was shared?

BLINKEN: So, in specific instances, when you’re trying to get a bus or a group of people through and you need to show a manifest to do that, because particularly in cases where people don’t have the necessary credentials on them or documents on them, then you’ll share names of the lists of people on the bus so they can be assured those are the people we’re looking to bring in.

And by definition, that’s exactly what’s happened. We’ve gotten 5,500 American citizens out of Afghanistan. And to the extent in an individual case with a particular group or a bus, to verify that the people on the bus or in that group were people who were supposed to come out, American citizens — especially, again, if they lack the right document with them, that’s what we would do. But the idea that we put anyone in any further jeopardy is simply wrong.

TODD: What has been promised to the Taliban for this cooperation? Is it money? Is it money we have frozen right now that they perhaps might be able to use for governing?

BLINKEN: Nothing has been promised to the Taliban. To the contrary, we have made very clear — and not just us, country by country around the world have made clear that there are very significant expectations of the Taliban going forward, if they’re going to have any kind of relationship with the rest of the world.

Starting with freedom of travel. But then going on to making sure that they’re sustaining the basic rights of their people including women and girls, making sure that they’re making good on commitments they’ve repeatedly made on counterterrorism and having some inclusivity of governance.

(…)



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