Biden’s defense secretary picks leadership when the team is accused of “diluting” ISIS information

Elected President Joe Biden The choice of the Secretary of Defense, retired General Lloyd Austin, could make history as the first black man to serve in the position, but is set by Congress It can be an uphill battle.

Austin will likely face some scrutiny on both sides of the aisle, as Democrats teeter with the idea of ​​agreeing to another former military man who has only retired from his position for only four years, not the required seven.

The law requires all former military personnel to be removed from service for a period of at least seven years, to create a separation barrier that allows the civilian to supervise the highest defense position.

And with Gen. James Mattis’ early approval just four years ago, some Democrats could undo another exception to the rule.

Republicans who criticize the Obama administration’s handling of the war in Iraq and the development of the Islamic State are also questioning the West Point graduate.

In 2017 Uncategorized report By the Office of the Inspector General, an investigation has been conducted to review allegations of “fake, mutilated, suppressed, or delayed intelligence products” by senior USCENTCOM intelligence officials in an attempt to portray a more positive perception of a case related to ISIS.

Although Austin, who commanded the US Central Command from March 2013 to March 2016, has not been accused of falsifying information, he has been charged with demanding a “narrative” that pressures other senior officials to change intelligence documents, he said. Politico Tuesday.

Austin flatly rejected the accusation and said he had no knowledge of “anyone trying to downplay or enhance intelligence,” according to IG’s findings.

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He reportedly added, “You won’t win if you don’t have the right information,” noting the importance of accurate information. “So the roses do not help us succeed in this battle.”

The investigation included interviews with 120 witnesses, some of them more than once, and a total of 152 interviews.

Ultimately, however, the Inspector General’s investigation found no evidence of fraud, although some people interviewed said they believed there were circumstances to “dilute” or “distort” intelligence reports to make them appear less gloomy.

Biden said he is sticking to his decision and is asking Congress to make an exception to Austin retirement for only four years, saying in an article in The Atlantic, “He’s the one we need at this moment.”

Biden said he believes Austin is the best person to handle the massive distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, a task he says Austin can take on because of his military experience.

Biden wrote: “Austin oversaw the largest logistical operation by the military in six decades – the withdrawal from Iraq.”

The president-elect also noted Austin’s leadership in fighting ISIS in the Middle East, and said this was a factor contributing to his decision.

Biden wrote, “He designed and executed the campaign that ultimately defeated ISIS, and helped build a coalition of partners and allies from more than 70 countries who worked together to defeat a common enemy.”

Austin will likely face interrogation at his confirmation session regarding his 40-plus-year mandate in the military, and in particular how Biden should address President Trump’s massive withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, in what Trump saw as an end to “endless wars.”

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Although Biden praised Austen’s ability to lead forces from Iraq, a fellow military officer, the late Senator John McCain, a Republican from Arizona, disagreed with Austen’s recommendation on how to deal with Syria in an infamous way. Session 2015 To fight ISIS.

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“In general, what you are telling us is everything if it is okay as we see hundreds of thousands of refugees leaving and flooding Europe as we see now – 250,000 Syrians have been killed,” McCain told Austin after the US Central Command commander said he would not recommend the creation of a “zone” Buffer zone “to allow the Syrian refugees to escape to it, as this requires the presence of American forces.

“I’ve never seen a hearing separate from the reality of what every outside expert is saying,” said the late senator during a critical moment as the general looked at the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Sacha Woodward

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