House intel chief kept in dark on Afghanistan

 

The head of the House Intelligence Committee is accusing the White House of keeping his staff in the dark about its plans for Afghanistan.

A day after President Obama announced plans to keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan until the end of 2016, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said the administration “lone wolfs” the tough questions without proper input from lawmakers. 

“A policy like this can't be because ‘I want to have a line in my biography that says I ended the war in Afghanistan,’” he said at an event at George Washington University on Wednesday.

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Under Obama’s plan, the last U.S. troops would be out of Afghanistan as he leaves office in two and a half years.

Rogers said that his staff had been asking the White House about its plans for a year and a half, but had been repeatedly stonewalled.

Intelligence committee lawmakers needed to know the strategy ahead of time, he said, so that they could figure out what to do with Central Intelligence Agency officers and other spies in the country. 

“You have to give us the troop numbers so that, in this year’s budget, from an intelligence perspective, we can appropriately fund operations that would happen separately from [the Defense Department] on the ground in Afghanistan, and I hope we’re not being too cute by half there," he said.

Those operations happen more or less independently from the military troops, but still rely on them for medical help and quick strike forces, Rogers said.

“This has been the most frustrating experience when it comes to national security that I have ever faced certainly in my time in Congress,” he added.

“You can’t have an executive branch that lone wolfs these things without consultation from the folks who are going to have to implement all of the aspects of these plans. And I think it’s, candidly, quite dangerous.”