Pentagon Inspector General Sean O'Donnell told two Republican senators that he would investigate whistleblower claims that the Biden administration evacuated hundreds of individuals from Afghanistan into the U.S. who were on a Department of Defense watchlist, reports Axios.
"As part of our ongoing body of work on Afghan evacuees, we are initiating an evaluation, to commence in the first quarter of [fiscal year] 2023, to address your questions pertaining to the DoD's role in reviewing DoD databases for information on Afghan evacuees when requested by other agencies," acting Pentagon Inspector General Sean O'Donnell wrote in a letter to GOP Sens. Ron Johnson and Josh Hawley.
O'Donnell also plans to probe whether officials at the National Security Council and the Pentagon cut corners and "did not follow proper procedures when processing evacuees in Afghanistan and at staging bases [in Europe]," according to the letter.
The report comes a day after the Department of Homeland Security's watchdog said DHS lacked "critical data to properly screen, vet, and inspect" Afghan evacuees after the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021.
"U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) did not always have critical data to properly screen, vet, or inspect the evacuees," the report by DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari said. "We determined some information used to vet evacuees through U.S. Government databases, such as name, date of birth, identification number, and travel document data, was inaccurate, incomplete, or missing."
Hawley, of Missouri, and Johnson, of Wisconsin, said a whistleblower told them that 324 individuals who came from Afghanistan were on the DoD's Biometrically Enabled Watchlist and that DoD officials were told to "abbreviate" biometric tests to keep up with the onslaught of evacuees.
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