Cummings and Lynch Request Immediate Reversal of Decision to Classify Previously Unclassified Information about Afghanistan

Nov 17, 2017

Washington, D.C. (Nov. 17, 2017)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Rep. Stephen F. Lynch, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on National Security, sent a letter to President Donald J. Trump requesting an immediate reversal of the policy to classify previously unclassified information relating to Afghanistan.

“We’re writing about a recent decision by the U.S. Department of Defense to classify and discontinue public reporting of information essential to conducting oversight of U.S. spending in Afghanistan, and to request an immediate reversal of this policy,” Cummings and Lynch wrote. “This information relates to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF), has been unclassified for years, and was previously published publicly in quarterly reports by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).”

SIGAR was notified recently by DOD of its plan to begin classifying information SIGAR used previously in its role of evaluating waste, fraud, and abuse in U.S. programs in Afghanistan.  The report also stated that the sudden classification of ANDSF data would “hinder” SIGAR’s ability to report progress in Afghanistan.

The U.S. military sought to classify information on ANDSF capabilities in 2015, but they quickly reversed course after SIGAR released its quarterly report.

“The safety and security of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan is of the highest importance,” Cummings and Lynch wrote. “However, inappropriately classifying information undermines the ability of Congress to conduct meaningful oversight and restricts the ability of the American people to know how the U.S. government is spending billions of their tax dollars.”

Click here to read today’s letter.