Tuesday, Sen Ted Cruz, R-Texas went back and forth with Secretary of State Antony Blinken over reports that the State Department gave the Taliban lists of Americans and Afghan allies that the U.S. was trying to evacuate.
"Did the State Department give the Taliban a list or multiple lists of Americans and or Afghans that we wanted out?" Cruz asked Blinken at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the Afghanistan withdrawal.
"Those reports and the idea that we would do anything to endanger our citizens or anyone else at a time when we were trying to save their lives are flat-out wrong," Blinken said, however, he added later that "in limited instances" the U.S. gave a manifest to people at a checkpoint to indicate that they were expected.
Cruz was referring to a confirmed report that the U.S. gave the Taliban a list of American citizens, green card holders, and Afghan allies in an effort to grant them entry to the airport, which culminated in outrage from military officials behind the scenes.
An unnamed source confirmed that the matter was brought up in a classified briefing on Capitol Hill and that U.S. officials did not give a list of "every single person" but had given partial lists of names to the Taliban "whenever they wanted a specific group to come through.
Giving the Taliban those names "essentially doomed" some people who were cleared to travel to the airport but were not on the lists, the source said.
"Senator by definition, these were in limited instances with a bus or a group of people to get them through a checkpoint. he said.
Blinken was raked over the coals as he defended the way the Biden administration handled the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan and the mismanaged evacuation of Americans and allies from Afghanistan.
Earlier in the hearing, Cruz brushed off efforts made by Democrats on the committee to lay blame on the Trump administration by arguing that Trump had made the initial agreement to withdraw troops in May of this year.
"Mr. Secretary, Joe Biden is the president of the United States, Kamala Harris is the vice president of the United States. You are the United States Secretary of State," he stated. "Just like former President Jimmy Carter owns the disaster of the Iran hostage crisis, you own this."