USAGM Watch Commentary
USAGM Watch applauds the statement by House Foreign Affairs Committee Lead Republican Michael McCaul about the USAGM staff left behind in Afghanistan.
Most of the blame for leaving hundreds of USAGM journalists in Afghanistan belongs to the leadership of the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM) and the Voice of America (VOA). For months and weeks these longtime, entrenched leaders have failed to take actions to bring USAGM journalists, other employees and their dependents to safety when it was still possible to do in an orderly manner.
We support calls for the resignation of these senior USAGM and VOA leaders and the appointment by the Biden administration of a special administrator, not tainted by USAGM leadership’s security lapses, who can try to reverse the damage already done by these officials as much as it is possible to do at this late hour.
Top USAGM and VOA leaders, acting USAGM CEO Kelu Chao and Acting VOA Director Yolanda Lopez, should immediately resign together with their senior assistants and advisors.
Media Contact 202-225-5021
Washington, D.C. – House Foreign Affairs Committee Lead Republican Michael McCaul has released the following statement on the news that more than 500 journalists and their families who were employed by the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM) were abandoned by the State Department in Afghanistan. Only 50 USAGM staffers were evacuated, thanks to efforts by our allies – not the United States government.
“It is absolutely disgraceful the U.S. State Department claimed they evacuated their local employees when in reality they abandoned hundreds of USAGM journalists and their families. Some of these journalists were given express assurances by the Biden Administration that they would be treated as locally employed staff – but were not. My office was working with one of these journalists and tried for two weeks to get attention brought to his case so he, his wife, and his infant child could be saved – but our pleas were ignored. I am calling on the president and the State Department to rapidly find ways to get these people to safety and away from the threats President Biden and Secretary Blinken enabled.”
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