By DANA LIEBELSON
In the last couple weeks, Army Lieutenant Colonel Daniel L. Davis has embarked upon a whistleblowing campaign of epic proportions: he has alleged to members of the House and Senate, The New York Times, and Armed Forces Journal that senior military officials are deceiving the American public and Congress about conditions on the ground in Afghanistan. POGO is pleased to report that some Members of Congress are taking their duty to conduct oversight seriously.
Six Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle sent a letter on February 14 urging House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to consider Davis’s analysis of the situation in Afghanistan. The letter, which is signed by Representatives Walter Jones (R-NC), Jimmy Duncan (R-TN), Jim McGovern (D-MA), John Garamendi (D-CA), Timothy Johnson (R-IL) and Barbara Lee (D-CA,) also said:
We think that Lieutenant Davis’ analysis merits attention by the relevant committees of jurisdiction in the U.S. House of Representatives and we respectfully request that you encourage the relevant Chairman to hold hearings as soon as possible and invite Lieutenant Colonel Davis to be a witness.
The letter by the legislators cites the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) for December 2011—a document prepared by the Director of National Intelligence—as evidence supporting Davis’s analysis. Last month, Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Walter Jones (R-NC) sent a letter to President Obama requesting that the president authorize the declassification and release of the NIE. We also encourage the White House to declassify this document so that the public can see for itself how the two reports overlap.
"Members of Congress should have the opportunity to get a full spectrum perspective on the War in Afghanistan," said Representative Jones in a press release. "There is too much at stake in terms of the lives and limbs of Americans serving in Afghanistan, and in terms of the $10+ billion that Americans are borrowing every month to spend on that war, for Congress to accept something less."
We applaud Jones and the other representatives for supporting Davis, and echo their call for relevant committees—such as the Armed Services, Foreign Affairs and/or Intelligence Committees—to hold hearings on Afghanistan and ask Davis to testify.
Davis is a whistleblower who made bold allegations about the war in Afghanistan, but did so in a responsible way: by submitting a classified report to Members of Congress, and only releasing unclassified information to the American public. He is also receiving support from his immediate chain-of-command. As the U.S. withdraws from Afghanistan and considers the lessons learned over the past decade, Davis’s disclosures could have a great impact upon future contingency efforts. He deserves our full support.
Dana Liebelson is POGO's Beth Daley Impact Fellow
Image from The U.S. Army