Biden dismisses getting warning of Afghanistan's quick fall to Taliban: 'We got all kinds of cables'

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Media top headlines August 20

In media news today, the Los Angeles Times says Kamala Harris now ‘owns’ Afghanistan policy after touting her role in withdrawal decision, Columbia Journal Review torches NYT, CNN for their roles in the ‘Cuomo myth,’ and media outlets repeat Biden remark that GOP governors are ‘banning masks in schools’

President Joe Biden’s dismissive remark Friday about a classified diplomatic memo last month warning of Afghanistan’s rapid collapse to the Taliban drew further criticism of his leadership.

“We’ve learned over the past 24 hours that there was a dissent cable from the State Department saying that the Taliban would come faster through Afghanistan,” Bloomberg’s Justin Sink said at a White House press conference. “Can you say why after that cable was issued the U.S. didn’t do more to get Americans out?”

“We got all kinds of cables,” Biden said. “All kinds of advice. If you notice, they range from this group saying – they didn’t say it would fall when it did fall, but saying that it would fall, to others saying it wouldn’t happen for a long time and they’d be able to sustain themselves through the end of the year.

“I made the decision. The buck stops with me. I took the consensus opinion. The consensus opinion was that in fact it would not occur, if it occurred, until later in the year. It was my decision.”

National Review’s John McCormack noted Biden’s belief that the Afghan government would hold through December, writing, “The end of the year is 4 months away.”

The Wall Street Journal first reported roughly two dozen officials stationed at the U.S. embassy in Kabul sent a memo through the department’s confidential dissent channel to alert Secretary of State Blinken, along with another top State Department official, that the Taliban was well-positioned to take over the nation once the U.S. withdrew its forces by the end of August.

The Biden administration has been slammed as being caught flat-footed by the speed of the Taliban takeover and the ensuing chaos of the troop withdrawal, as thousands of Americans and Afghan allies are still stranded in the war-torn country. Reports of the Taliban assaulting Americans trying to get to the airport are “deeply troubling,” the Pentagon said Friday.

While Biden has said he stands behind his decision to withdraw troops, he has admitted the rapid Taliban takeover caught his administration off-guard. In addition to taking over the country for the first time since being driven out of power in 2001, the Islamist militant group has seized billions of dollars worth of U.S. weapons and military equipment.

Fox News’ Caitlin McFall and Rich Edson contributed to this report.

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