But don’t call them stranded… at least not yet. House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) came out of a classified briefing on Afghanistan looking anything but confident, and contradicted the White House’s happy talk almost in its entirety. It appears “very unlikely” that the US can get all of its citizens out of Kabul by the August 31 deadline, Schiff admitted — and spiked a couple of more claims coming out of the Biden administration, too:

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff [D-CA] said it was “very unlikely” that the U.S. completes its evacuation of Afghanistan by the Aug. 31 deadline.

“I think it’s possible but I think it’s very unlikely given the number of Americans who still need to be evacuated,” Schiff told reporters outside of The Capitol on Monday. “It’s hard for me to imagine that all of that can be accomplished between now and the end of the month.

“I am encouraged to see the numbers of people evacuated increasing readily to the point where we evacuated 11,000 people in a single day. Nonetheless given the logistical difficulties of moving people to the airport and the limited number of workarounds it’s hard for me to see that could be fully complete by the end of the month,” Schiff said.

“I’m certainly of the view that we maintain a military presence for as long as is necessary to get all U.S. persons out and to meet our moral and ethical obligations to our Afghan partners.”

Schiff also contradicted Joe Biden and the Pentagon on what the intelligence showed about the stability of the central government. The intel community had raised red flags for months, Schiff told reporters, directly contradicting Joint Chiefs chair Mark Milley, who keeps insisting that no one predicted a quick collapse. Another House Democrat corroborated Schiff’s take:

“There was nothing that I or anyone else saw that indicated a collapse of this army and this government in 11 days,” Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley said last week.

Schiff, however, described the intelligence community’s assessments of the Afghan government’s ability to maintain itself as “increasingly pessimistic” in recent months.

Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) also defended U.S. intelligence services.

“In my mind isn’t it more of a failure of honestly assessing their capabilities and will? Does anyone think that’s changed in 20 years? So, you know, we always put it on intel. I would say the intel assessments were always grim, solid, consistent,” he said, mentioning a trip to Afghanistan to visit U.S. training efforts.

“I’m no military guy, but nothing gave me confidence they could ever operate by themselves.”

In other words, Biden and his team had plenty of warning that the Taliban could and likely would take over, and take over quickly. Either they chose to ignore it or they didn’t care one way or the other, but Schiff’s statement makes it clear those are the only two options. Even if one bought the claims that this sequence of events took them by surprise, that alone should have these leaders handing in letters of resignation — especially with thousands of Americans trapped behind Taliban lines.

Schiff pledged to run a review of Afghanistan policy but with a broader scope than just the past six months, an obvious attempt to shift some of the focus away from Joe Biden. However, it’s also worth noting that the bare-knuckle partisan clearly isn’t interested in playing ball now with the White House. That intel briefing, and likely the records the intel community has in their warnings to the Pentagon and Biden administration, must have been sobering indeed for Schiff to openly contradict Biden and his team. One has to presume that there’s much more to leak to the press if House Democrats keep trying to circle wagons around Biden in this disgraceful episode.

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