Breaking: Pompeo Slams Biden State Department for Dissolving Crisis Response Bureau as Taliban Advanced

During his time as secretary of state, Mike Pompeo set about building a unit within the department tasked with rapidly evacuating Americans who came into harm’s way while overseas.

Intent on ensuring that there would never be a repeat of the disaster that took place at the U.S. embassy in Benghazi in 2012, Pompeo and his deputies developed the Contingency and Crisis Response Bureau (CCR) “from scratch,” Pompeo told National Review in an interview.

"The administration of Donald Trump was serious about making sure we had all the capabilities to respond to the needs of American citizens all around the world in a timely fashion with adequate medical response and adequate ability to get them home to their families,” Pompeo said.

“We had seen the failure of the Obama administration in Benghazi and Libya in exactly this regard, and we were determined to make sure those failures were never repeated,” he continued. “We had built out a set of capabilities and institutions to deliver on that.”

But rather than building on the Trump administration’s processes, the Biden administration “chose a different path,” Pompeo said.

The CCR was tasked with providing “aviation, logistics, and medical support capabilities for the Department’s operational bureaus, thereby enhancing the secretary’s ability to protect American citizens overseas in connection with overseas evacuations in the aftermath of a natural or man-made disaster.”

The Biden State Department moved to dissolve the program in June, just as the Taliban was beginning its advance across Afghanistan, according to a memo obtained by Fox News.

“The Biden administration made the determination that they're going to just throw it all away," Pompeo said.

Just two months later, thousands of American citizens are stranded in Afghanistan, and the Biden State Department has informed them that it cannot guarantee their safety en route to the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, where tens of thousands of Afghans and hundreds of Americans have waited for days to board limited flights.

Pressed on the decision to dismantle the program, a State Department spokesman told Fox that the department retained all of the capabilities the bureau would have provided — and noted that the crisis response unit was never formally established in the first place.

A source familiar with the bureau’s development said the spokesperson was technically correct: thanks to bureaucratic infighting, the CCR never received final approval. But the capabilities and manpower that composed the bureau were in place; they just needed final authorization to be utilized, the source said.

In fact, the bureau was given something of a soft test run when the COVID-19 pandemic emerged. Americans weren’t stuck behind enemy lines, but they were in many cases stuck in foreign countries and struggling to secure flights home.

"We had 100,000 Americans stranded across the world when the Wuhan virus was foisted on us,” Pompeo explained. “We conducted the largest repatriation airlift in the history of the United States — 140,000 people all across the globe.  It took us months and months to actually deliver that.”

“These weren't people trapped behind enemy lines, but we had airfields closed, roads and bridges shut down, there were no workers,” he continued. “It was an enormous undertaking, and we had to go build that from scratch. It's the same idea, it's the same set of capabilities that the State Department has a tremendous amount of expertise delivering on.”

An unknown number of Americans — likely somewhere between 10,000 and 15,000 — remain in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said Wednesday that the military lacks the “capability” to venture outside the airport into Kabul to retrieve Americans struggling to get past Taliban checkpoints. Austin told lawmakers on a Friday afternoon call that the Pentagon has received reports of American citizens being beaten by Taliban fighters while trying to reach the airport.

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Pompeo Slams Biden State Department for Dissolving Crisis Response Bureau as Taliban Advanced

'The Biden administration made the determination that they're going to just throw it all away,' Pompeo ... READ MORE

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