On Wednesday, it was revealed by Raheem Kassam at The National Pulse that the Biden administration paused a Trump-era contingency plan that provided plans for safe and quick evacuations of Americans out of crisis zones just months before Sunday's Taliban takeover of Kabul, stranding Americans in Afghanistan.
The "Contingency and Crisis Response Bureau," that was designed to "handle medical, diplomatic, and logistical support concerning Americans overseas."
The state department, under the leadership of Antony Blinken, paused the bureau earlier this year, with notification being officially signed just months ago.
An official State Department document from the desk of Deputy Secretary of State Brian P. McKeon, obtained by The National Pulse, outlines his recommendations to discontinue the bureau.
“Recommendations: That you direct the discontinuation of the establishment, and termination of, the Contingency and Crisis Response Bureau (CCR), and direct a further review of certain associated Department requirements and capabilities," reads the document.
"Recommendation 1: That you direct the discontinuation of the establishment, and termination of, CCR, consistent with the applicable legal requirements, necessary stakeholder engagement, and any applicable changes to the Foreign Affairs Manual and other requirements," the document continues.
The document is dates June 11, 2021, but the decision to pause the program may have occurred as early as February.
In a statement given exclusively to Kassam, former President Donald Trump slammed the Biden administration's move.
"My Administration prioritized keeping Americans safe, Biden leaves them behind. Canceling this successful Trump Administration program before the withdrawal that would have helped tens of thousands Americans reach home is beyond disgraceful," said Trump. "Our withdrawal was conditions-based and perfect, it would have been flawlessly executed and nobody would have even known we left. The Biden execution and withdrawal is perhaps the greatest embarrassment to our Country in History, both as a military and humanitarian operation."
Vanity Fair outlined the Contingency and Crisis Response Bureau (CCR) and its predecessor/partner bureau called "OpMed" in a May 2021 article.
"Even before COVID reared its head, OpMed was finding ways to do all sorts of things, serving as the hidden hand behind daring and often dangerous operations to rescue Americans from peril abroad," wrote Vanity Fair.
"The Bureau of Medical Services' Directorate of Operation—or 'OpMed,' as we call it—is a lifeline for the Department of State and the American people… Though perhaps lesser known outside of the Department, it's vital to our operations. That's because OpMed provides the platform and personnel to save American lives around the world, especially in times of crisis," they continue
Vanity Fair added that the program was vital in the early stages of the pandemic, evacuating 100,000 Americans as borders began to lock down across the world.
According to Vanity Fair, "OpMed emerged from the ashes of Benghazi, where, on September 11, 2012, militants attacked the U.S. consulate, killing America's ambassador to Libya, an information management officer, and two CIA contractors."
In the wake of Benghazi, findings emerged in that with the "grossly inadequate" response time to evacuate those injured, "State must ensure it has the capability to rapidly deploy crisis responders and evacuate […] personnel in harm's way."
According to a 2022 State Department Budgets Justification document, "The Department has paused implementation of Op Med (CCR) pending a policy review."
The National Pulse said that "no Congressional notification was sent to the United States Congress, as is required, upon the pause."
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