The following letter was sent by Reps Jones and McGovern to President Obama-
January 12, 2012
The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President,
Recent media reports have detailed that the current National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Afghanistan recognizes that U.S. policy has not achieved the objectives you have stated for our nation in Afghanistan. Similar reports were published concerning the 2010 NIE. These reports reinforce outside, independent assessments of the Afghan war and cast doubt on official assertions of progress by the U.S. government and military.
Outside of official public statements by U.S. officials, there seems to be near universal recognition that the situation in Afghanistan over the last several years has deteriorated significantly. We are conscious of and sympathetic to the timing of a debate on the Afghan War during an election year. However, as you are aware, the majority of Americans continue to favor an accelerated withdrawal of American troops from the midst of what they rightly recognize as a civil war internal to Afghanistan, one devoid of significant or meaningful al-Qaeda participation.
In order to facilitate an honest understanding of America’s involvement in Afghanistan we request that you authorize the declassification and release of the 2011 National Intelligence Estimate on Afghanistan. There are historical precedents for the declassification and release of NIEs. Tragically, there are also historical precedents for inaccurate and misleading public assertions of progress in war by those opposed to bringing military actions to a close. It is haunting in the face of the enormous expenditure of American lives, limbs and resources that progress in Afghanistan may, in fact, be something other than is being represented by those who advocate continued involvement.
The American public and its elected representatives deserve to have a full understanding of the situation in and outlook for Afghanistan as understood by our government. Too many families of our service members are sacrificing too greatly to allow for anything else.
James P. McGovern Walter B. Jones
Member of Congress Member of Congress