Washington Post: Jake Sullivan, “sleep deprived” “bundle” on visa processing for Afghans
The Washington Post accused White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan of messing up his lines after claiming that no special immigrant visas (SIVs) had been processed since March 2020, when the The Biden administration took office in January.
“When we took office in January, the Trump administration had not processed a single special immigrant visa since March 2020, in almost a year,” Sullivan said at a press briefing Monday.
White House would update statement later, clarifying that Sullivan meant the Trump administration had not conducted a single SIV maintenance since March 2020.
After some research, Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler couldn’t find any of these exact statements. Data showed a slowdown in visas in the first months after March 2020 at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, but processing accelerated in the second half of the year.
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In the SIV’s quarterly reports, the number of people interviewed for visas in Kabul was zero, Kessler admitted. But, he noted, reports also showed that two Afghans were to be interviewed during the July-September period and nine were to be interviewed in October-December, apparently outside Afghanistan.
“There were relatively few interviews this quarter because the United States Embassy in Kabul was closed for in-person visa services due to the prevalence of COVID-19 in Afghanistan,” the report says. December. “In all nine cases, the candidates requested that their interview take place in an alternate position.”
This data, argued the fact-checker, calls Sullivan’s claim into question.
Kessler began giving Sullivan the benefit of the doubt, saying he was “probably sleep deprived” given the chaos of the past week and could therefore afford a “slip of the tongue.”
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“Nonetheless, the White House has yet to correct the transcript, noting the error,” Kessler wrote. “For the record, this is important. Errors in speeches can go on forever, as President Bill Clinton discovered with an error that was corrected by the White House immediately – but not in the transcript. So we expect that this error be corrected in the official transcript before it is repeated.
Sullivan’s apparent mistake is the latest in a series of misleading statements and non-response from the Biden White House in the wake of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. Last week, President Joe Biden falsely stated that international allies did not question US leadership during the crisis, after several world leaders openly questioned the actions of the United States. He also claimed that his top advisers had not told him to delay the withdrawal of US troops, despite reports to the contrary.
Even the left-wing media hit the White House for often “bizarre” messages that seemed out of touch with reality.
“There is a serious disconnect between the message from the Biden administration, which is basically, ‘We have this, we have a plan, we are in control of it. If you want to get out of Afghanistan, you can, “” Associated Press’s Julie Pace said “Inside Politics” on Sunday. “And then what we see on the ground of really brave journalists who are there, a lot of Afghan civilians who are sharing footage of the scene outside the airport where, no, you can’t go out. if you want to get outside. “
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Pentagon press briefings over the past two weeks also appeared to leave Americans with more questions than answers, with press secretary John Kirby repeatedly saying they did not know how many Americans were still in Afghanistan. White House press secretary Jen Psaki raised her eyebrows on Monday when she said it was unfair to say these Americans were “stranded”.