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Cruz asks Blinken over reports of lists of Americans, allies given to the Taliban

Cruz asks Blinken over reports of lists of Americans, allies given to the Taliban

Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas on Tuesday sparred with Secretary of State Antony Blinken over reports that the State Department provided the Taliban with lists of Americans and Afghan allies that the United States was trying to evacuate.

“Did the State Department give the Taliban a list or more lists of Americans and or Afghans that we would like out?” Cruz asked Blinken at a hearing in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the Afghanistan withdrawal.

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“These reports and the idea that we would do anything to endanger our citizens or others at a time when we were trying to save their lives [are] flat wrong, “Blinken said, but later added that” in limited cases “the United States gave a manifesto to people at a checkpoint to demonstrate that they were expected.

Cruz referred to a Politico report confirmed by Fox News that US officials in Kabul provided the Taliban with a list of US citizens, green card holders and Afghan allies in an attempt to give them access to the airport, which resulted in in outrage from military officials behind the scenes.

A source confirmed to Fox News that the topic came up in a classified briefing on Capitol Hill and that US officials did not hand out a list of “every single person” but have shared names piecemeal with the Taliban “when they wanted a particular group to get through. “

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In addition, the source told Fox News that the transfer of names “essentially convicted” some people who were approved to travel to the airport but were not on the specific lists.

Cruz asked how many names were on the list, but Blinken said it “does not matter” and that he would not put a number on it.

“Senators by definition were these in limited cases with a bus or a group of people to get them through a checkpoint. They got through the checkpoint,” he said.

The question came amid a series of grills Blinken received during the hearing, in which he defended the Biden administration’s handling of the rapid withdrawal from Afghanistan and the struggle to get Americans and allies out of the Taliban-controlled country.

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Earlier in the hearing, Cruz had rejected efforts by Democrats in the committee to put the blame on the Trump administration by arguing that Trump had made the first agreement to withdraw troops in May this year.

“Mr. Secretary, Joe Biden is the President of the United States, Kamala Harris is the Vice President of the United States. You are the Secretary of State of the United States,” he said. “Just like [former President] Jimmy Carter owns the disaster in Iran as hostage crisis, you own this. “

Fox News’ Andrew Mark Miller and Hillary Vaughn contributed to this report.

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