On Tuesday’s broadcast of the Fox News Channel’s “The Story,” John Ratcliffe, who served as Director of National Intelligence throughout the Trump administration, said that whereas Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin deserves loads of essential focus, the incident “is really an indictment of the entire Biden national security team.” Because they might have observed Austin’s absence if that they had cared sufficient to have a serious assembly about assaults on U.S. forces.
Ratcliffe stated, “Obviously, there’s a lot of focus on Secretary Austin and the role that he played here, and there should be, but a lot of people seem to be missing the larger picture here that this entire episode is really an indictment of the entire Biden national security team. Look, the focus here isn’t just on the concern that we have with our adversaries like Putin and Xi about not following processes and procedures and the explanations that you heard and them trying to say that, look, there were no gaps, someone always had their hands in control. The concern that I have, Martha, is the message that we’ve sent to our troops about force protection, which is that we don’t care. The thing that isn’t being talked about Martha, is…that from the time of Secretary Austin’s first surgery until the time it was discovered he was AWOL, there were 13 attacks on U.S. troops. And just from January 1 to January 4, there were eight attacks. And what we’ve learned is that the number of principal meetings — meaning the senior Cabinet officials of Biden’s national security team to talk about this issue — the number of meetings was zero. We know that because had anyone gotten together to talk about what should we do about force protection, what should we do about protecting our troops, what [were] the nature and the extent of the damages? Someone would have noticed that Secretary Austin was missing.”
Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett