National Security

CIA head says Afghanistan withdrawal ‘will diminish’ US intelligence efforts

Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns said Wednesday that the planned withdrawal of U.S. military from Afghanistan would hurt the agency’s ability to gather intelligence in the country.

“Our ability to keep that threat in Afghanistan in check, from either al Qaeda or ISIS in Afghanistan, has benefited greatly from the presence of U.S. and coalition militaries on the ground and in the air fueled by intelligence provided by the CIA and our other intelligence partners. When the time comes for the U.S. military to withdraw, the U.S. government’s ability to collect and act on threats will diminish. That’s simply a fact,” Burns told the Senate Intelligence Committee during Wednesday’s worldwide threat hearing.

“So all of that, to be honest, means that there is a significant risk once the U.S. military and the coalition militaries withdraw.”

President Biden announced Tuesday that the U.S. would withdraw all military personnel, some 2,500 troops, by the coming 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. 

Burns said that while military groups “remain intent on recovering the ability to attack U.S. targets … after years of sustained counterterrorism pressure, the reality is that neither of them have that capacity today.”

Under the deal with the Taliban, the U.S. withdrawal is supposed to be contingent on the insurgents meeting certain commitments, including breaking from al Qaeda and reducing violence in the country. But U.S. military officials have repeatedly said the Taliban has yet to uphold its commitments.

Burns said “whenever that time comes” the CIA would still retain a suite of capabilities in the region to “anticipate and contest any rebuilding effort” from various terrorism groups. 

Tags 9/11 Afghanistan Afghanistan Afghanistan Joe Biden William Burns

Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Regular the hill posts

People – Image widget – Person – Main Area Top

File - A Chevrolet Bolt is displayed at the Philadelphia Auto Show, Jan. 27, 2023, in Philadelphia. Electric vehicles are far less reliable than gasoline-powered cars, trucks and SUVs, mainly because most automakers are still learning how to build a completely new power system, according to this year's auto reliability survey by Consumer Reports.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
File - A Chevrolet Bolt is displayed at the Philadelphia Auto Show, Jan. 27, 2023, in Philadelphia. Electric vehicles are far less reliable than gasoline-powered cars, trucks and SUVs, mainly because most automakers are still learning how to build a completely new power system, according to this year's auto reliability survey by Consumer Reports.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

QAT WC-2613

People – Image – Person

In this photo released by the Governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhayev telegram channel, a rescuer gestures as he helps people during an evacuation after storm and flooding in Sevastopol, Crimea, Monday, Nov. 27, 2023. A storm in the Black Sea took down power grids and left almost half a million people without power after it flooded roads, ripped up trees and damaged buildings in Crimea, Russian state news agency Tass said. (Governor of Sevastopol Mikhail Razvozhayev's telegram channel via AP)
In this photo released by the Governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhayev telegram channel, a rescuer gestures as he helps people during an evacuation after storm and flooding in Sevastopol, Crimea, Monday, Nov. 27, 2023. A storm in the Black Sea took down power grids and left almost half a million people without power after it flooded roads, ripped up trees and damaged buildings in Crimea, Russian state news agency Tass said. (Governor of Sevastopol Mikhail Razvozhayev's telegram channel via AP)

People - Video Bin - Person

The White House is pushing 'Bidenomics,' but what does it mean?

The White House is pushing 'Bidenomics,' but what ...
DC Bureau: AI Legal Immunity (raquel)
KXAN: special session
DC Bureau: Biden economic display (basil)
KTXL: ca budget folo
WHTM: good gov bills
More Videos

Main area middle

See all Hill.TV See all Video

main area bottom custom html

MAIN Area bottom

People – Custom HTML – Person

MAIN AREA BOTTOM

People - Article Bin - 7 Headline List with Featured Image - Person

Main area bottom

Top Stories

See All

Most Popular

Load more