John Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan (SIGAR), wrote a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, USAID Administrator Samantha Power, and the heads of several congressional committees on Wednesday complaining that the Biden administration abruptly stopped cooperating with his investigations after he issued a report critical of President Joe Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan.
“It is my duty to report that the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) are unreasonably refusing to provide information and assistance requested by SIGAR,” Sopko wrote, citing the relevant laws requiring those agencies to cooperate.
Sopko documented a “repeated and continuing refusal to provide information and assistance requested by my office,” especially on three sensitive matters: the swift collapse of the U.S.-backed government in Afghanistan after President Biden’s disastrous withdrawal of military forces in August 2021, compliance with “laws and regulations prohibiting the transfer of funds to the Taliban,” and humanitarian aid for the Afghan people.
Sopko pointed out that Congress clearly and unambiguously required the State Department and USAID to cooperate with his investigations when his office was established, and three previous administrations have done as Congress directed.
“It is shocking that State and USAID officials are choosing at this particular juncture to violate the law, obstruct SIGAR’s oversight work, and refuse to cooperate with our oversight requests,” he wrote.