Show an ad over header. AMP

I am the FIRST

McCarthy and McConnell demand briefing on Afghanistan

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and are demanding a classified briefing from the Biden administration on the government's plan to ensure safe passage for U.S. citizens out of Afghanistan.

Why it matters: By demanding an official briefing for the so-called "Gang of Eight" on the immediate challenges facing the Biden administration, the top two congressional Republicans are indicating that they plan press the White House on a range of issues.


  • “It is of the utmost importance that the U.S. Government account for all U.S. citizens in Afghanistan and provide the necessary information and means of departure to all those Americans who desire to leave the country," they wrote to Biden on Wednesday.
  • Among other issues, they want to know how many U.S. citizens remain in Afghanistan and how the government plans to evacuate anyone outside of Kabul who cannot reach the airport.

Driving the news: In an interview with ABC News, Biden defended his decision to withdraw, but hinted that he would launch his own review of how the country fell so quickly.

  • “We're gonna go back in hindsight and look,” he said.
  • “But the idea that somehow, there's a way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing, I don't know how that happens. I don't know how that happened," Biden said.

The big picture: Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Wednesday that the U.S. military's intelligence did not indicate that Afghanistan would fall as quickly as it did to the Taliban.

  • Milley's comments come as intelligence communities have pushed back on claims that the Afghan collapse was a surprise. Several leaks have asserted that the intelligence agencies provided substantial information regarding Afghanistan's potential fall.
  • "The time frame of a potential collapse was widely estimated, it ranged from weeks to months, even years following our departure," Milley said in a press briefing.

Go deeper: McConnell’s and McCarthy’s call comes after Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Mark Warner (D-Va.) indicated Monday that he plans to work with other congressional committees to investigate any potential intelligence failures.

  • Warner said in a statement Monday that he would “ask tough but necessary questions about why we weren’t better prepared for a worst-case scenario involving such a swift and total collapse of the Afghan government and security forces."

Why the startup world needs to ditch "unicorns" for "dragons"

When Aileen Lee originally coined the term "unicorn" in late 2013, she was describing the 39 "U.S.-based software companies started since 2003 and valued at over $1 billion by public or private market investors."

Flashback: It got redefined in early 2015 by yours truly and Erin Griffith, in a cover story for Fortune, as any privately-held startup valued at $1 billion or more. At the time, we counted 80 of them.

Keep reading... Show less

Scoop: Facebook's new moves to lower News Feed's political volume

Facebook plans to announce that it will de-emphasize political posts and current events content in the News Feed based on negative user feedback, Axios has learned. It also plans to expand tests to limit the amount of political content that people see in their News Feeds to more countries outside of the U.S.

Why it matters: The changes could reduce traffic to some news publishers, particularly companies that post a lot of political content.

Keep reading... Show less

Scoop: Amazon quietly getting into live audio business

Amazon is investing heavily in a new live audio feature that's similar to other live audio offerings like Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces and Spotify's new live audio platform, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: As with Amazon's efforts in podcasting and music subscriptions, the company sees live audio as a way to bolster the types of content it can offer through its voice assistant, Alexa, and its smart speaker products.

Keep reading... Show less

Hurricane Ida exposes America's precarious energy infrastructure

The powerful hurricane that plunged New Orleans into darkness for what could be weeks is the latest sign that U.S. power systems are not ready for a warmer, more volatile world.

The big picture: “Our current infrastructure is not adequate when it comes to these kinds of weather extremes,” Joshua Rhodes, a University of Texas energy expert, tells Axios.

Keep reading... Show less

"We must go further": 70% of adults in European Union are fully vaccinated

About 70% of adults in the European Union are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said Tuesday.

Why it matters: The milestone makes the E.U. one of the world's leaders in inoculations, after an initially lagging vaccine campaign, the New York Times notes.

Keep reading... Show less

What Elizabeth Holmes jurors will be asked ahead of fraud trial

Jury selection begins today in USA v. Elizabeth Holmes, with the actual jury trial to get underway on Sept. 8.

Why it matters: Theranos was the biggest fraud in Silicon Valley history, putting both hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of patients' health at risk.

Keep reading... Show less

Insights

mail-copy

Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories