After this morning’s revelation that the Pentagon had prohibited the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) from including Afghan district data in his quarterly report to Congress, despite that data being unclassified. media pressure has led to a surprising reversal.
The Pentagon has now released the data themselves, claiming it proves the Afghan government is getting stronger, despite the percentage of the Afghan population under control dropping even further.
This data was never classified in the first place, and the Pentagon claimed it was a “mistake” that they told SIGAR not to put it in their report. SIGAR said they were happy the data is released, even if it took media pressure to make it happen.
On the other hand, SIGAR noted that the Pentagon still hasn’t gotten in touch with them about the matter, and still hasn’t given them permission to include the data in the report, despite claiming to the media that the restriction was in error.
That’s potentially significant, even though the data got out this time, because if the limit on SIGAR isn’t lifted formally, this will come up again next quarter, and there’s no guarantee that media pressure will be big enough to force a reversal.