Republican Representative Michael McCaul said more than 500 journalists and their families who were employed by the US Agency for Global Media (USAGM) were abandoned by the US State Department in Afghanistan.
"It is absolutely disgraceful the US State Department claimed they evacuated their local employees when in reality they abandoned hundreds of USAGM journalists and their families," McCaul said in a statement on Tuesday. "Some of these journalists were given assurances by the Biden Administration that they would be treated as locally employed staff â but were not."
USAGM: A Federal Agency Funded by Congress
USAGM is a networked global media agency of the United States government and is considered an arm of US diplomacy. It supervises several news networks, including the Voice of America and Radio Azadi, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Radio Free Asia.
McCaul Slams Failure to Evacuate USAGM Journalists from Afghanistan
McCaul said that only 50 staffers from the US media agency were evacuated, thanks to efforts by US allies and not the United States government.
"My office was working with one of these journalists and tried for two weeks to get attention brought to his case so he, his wife, and his infant child could be saved â but our pleas were ignored," McCaul said.
He further called on President Joe Biden and the State Department to rapidly find ways to get these people to safety and away from the threats.
House Foreign Affairs Republicans told VOA they are pushing the administration to ensure the safe departure of USAGM employees but say they are not sure how it will happen after the US military departure. Some who have been advocating for private charters are aware of complications in getting journalists out of hiding and safely to airports.
What Did Ned Price Say About the Departure of USAGM Journalists?
When asked about the USAGM journalists in a briefing Tuesday, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said: "We are going to extraordinary and all appropriate lengths to bring them to safety as quickly as we can."
He added the US remains committed to getting the USAGM employees and their families out of Afghanistan as quickly as possible, according to USA Today.