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Granholm chartered army jet to Ukraine as US struggled to evacuate Individuals from Afghanistan

Power Secretary Jennifer Granholm earlier this week chartered a army jet to attend a diplomatic summit in Ukraine because the Pentagon struggled to evacuate Individuals and allies from Afghanistan with restricted time and operational sources, sources instructed the Washington Free Beacon.

Granholm’s flight befell amid the USA’ frantic effort to airlift tens of hundreds of individuals from Afghanistan forward of the Taliban’s Aug. 31 deadline, and because the Division of Protection was pressured to name in civilian airways to bolster its strained evacuation fleet.

The secretary’s use of a army jet — and significantly the flight’s timing — might elevate questions for the Biden White Home, which is answerable for approving such flights. Trump administration officers confronted allegations of wasteful spending for his or her use of pricey army charters for journeys that didn’t have nationwide safety urgency.

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Tom Worth, who served as Well being and Human Providers secretary underneath former president Donald Trump, was pressured to resign in 2017 amid revelations that he took quite a few abroad army flights and different non-public air journey, working up a $500,000 journey tab. Trump’s former Environmental Safety Company administrator Scott Pruitt resigned in 2018 amid a number of controversies, together with questions over his use of army flights that value the federal government over $58,000. Former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was additionally scrutinized for taking army flights for pointless functions.

“As President Biden lately mentioned, we’re in a ‘winter of peril,’ so it’s disconcerting to see administration officers primarily taking pleasure rides on army plane.  It is the definition of fraud, waste, and abuse,” mentioned Tom Anderson, director of the Nationwide Authorized and Coverage Heart’s Public Integrity Mission.

The White Home confirmed to the Free Beacon that Granholm used a army flight and defended it as “customary protocol” as a result of Granholm was attending the occasion as a dignitary, representing the president.

Others questioned the justification. 

“Commonplace working process doesn’t apply throughout a nationwide safety disaster; these moments require judgment,” one former Trump administration official instructed the Free Beacon. “The truth that the White Home selected to ship a cupboard member abroad on a non-mission-essential go to, unnecessarily diverting State Division and DOD sources, is ludicrous, to not point out an abuse of taxpayer {dollars}.”

The official added that the army charters “require refueling and the help of personnel at army bases resembling Ramstein Air Base, which is at the moment getting used to move and home hundreds of individuals fleeing Afghanistan.”

The Division of Power declined to touch upon the justification for the flight and the way a lot it value.

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Granholm on Monday flew to Ukraine to attend the Crimea Platform Summit, a convention to help Crimea’s independence from Russia.

Additionally on Monday, the Pentagon instituted an emergency program known as the “Civil Reserve Air Fleet,” which ordered civilian airways, together with American Airways and Delta Airways, to offer planes to assist the evacuation efforts from Afghanistan. This system was final used throughout the early days of the Iraq conflict.

“It is a program that was designed within the wake of the Berlin airlift after World Battle II to make use of business plane to reinforce our airlift capability,” President Biden mentioned earlier.

Click on right here to learn extra on the Washington Free Beacon.

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