Secretary of Defense Facing Jail Time for Refusal to Testify

Secretary of Defense Facing Jail Time for Refusal to Testify

( – After watching chaotic events unfold in Afghanistan over the past month, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is chomping at the bit to investigate the US’ withdrawal from the country and the subsequent evacuation of US troops and Afghan allies. After Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke during the first two days of the committee’s hearing, the panel asked Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to testify. However, he refused.

On Tuesday, September 14, Senator Bob Menedez (D-NJ) opened his remarks by emphasizing his disappointment in Secretary Austin, who declined the committee’s request to testify. He highlighted that a “full accounting of the US response” is not complete without Austin’s testimony.

National security reporter Robbie Gramer emphasized the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman’s words, and told readers about the likely next move:

If the committee subpoenas Secretary Austin and he again refuses to testify, the House could cite him for contempt of Congress. If found guilty, Austin could face up to a year of jail time and a $1,000 fine. While this is an unlikely ending, it’s still a possibility given Austin’s current defiance.

Many Americans called for the defense secretary’s resignation after the chaotic withdrawal, but now they’re also wondering why he’s refusing to testify. Is he concerned about implicating himself or President Joe Biden? The push for him to speak is coming from both sides of the aisle, so hopefully, the committee will be able to get an accurate account from him sooner rather than later.

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