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BLITZER'S BLOG: Outrage – U.S. congressman not allowed into Afghanistan
April 25th, 2012
03:54 PM ET

BLITZER'S BLOG: Outrage – U.S. congressman not allowed into Afghanistan

By CNN's Wolf Blitzer

(CNN) – It’s shocking that a country that receives billions of dollars in U.S. taxpayer money can tell an American congressman that he’s not welcome to visit that country.

And it’s also shocking that the highest U.S. officials – and even fellow Members of Congress – would go along with this outrage.

But that’s exactly what happened when Afghan President Hamid Karzai made clear to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that Republican Representative Dana Rohrabacher of California, a key member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, would not be allowed into Afghanistan.

Rohrabacher, the chairman of the Committee’s Oversight and Investigation Subcommittee, was already on a Congressional delegation in Dubai with five of his colleagues when he received a phone call from Secretary Clinton. She told him that Karzai didn’t want him to enter the country. Rohrabacher has been an outspoken critic of Karzai’s policies, including the wide-spread corruption in Afghanistan.

Instead of telling Karzai and his government that that was unacceptable, Secretary Clinton urged Rohrabacher not to join his colleagues on the U.S. military flight to Kabul. Rohrabacher says she clearly wanted to avoid a diplomatic crisis. He reluctantly agreed to stay behind.

The State Department spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland, told reporters today: “We were advised, as Congressman Rohrabacher made clear, that the sovereign government didn’t think this visit was timely. So it’s in that context that he made his decision after our request.”

U.S. taxpayers are spending some $2 billion a week – more than $100 billion a year – maintaining 90,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan and providing economic development assistance. Many of those troops will remain there until the end of 2014. Thousands of American lives have been lost over the past decade in an effort to promote democracy in that country.

That explains why I was stunned to hear that Karzai would have the nerve to tell a democratically-elected Member of Congress that he could not enter Afghanistan.

That explains why I was also stunned to hear that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would go along with this demand.

And that explains why I was further stunned to hear that five Members of Congress – Republican Louis Gohmert of Texas, Republican Michael Burgess of Texas, Republican John Carter of Texas, Republican Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Madeleine Bordallo, the Democratic Delegate from Guam – didn’t cancel their trip to express their outrage.

I called Representative Bachmann. She noted that the incident occurred at a very sensitive moment in the U.S.-Afghan negotiations for a long-term post-2014 security agreement. She noted that Rohrabacher himself didn’t want to disrupt those negotiations, and graciously urged the Members to continue the trip without him.

The delegation flew from Dubai to Kabul and met with American troops, the U.S. ambassador, the U.S. commanding general, and various Afghan officials, including members of the Northern Alliance who oppose Karzai. The Congressional delegation was not invited to meet with the Afghan President.

I will discuss all this with Representative Rohrabacher today in The Situation Room which airs between 4-6pm ET.

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RELATED VIDEO: Rep. Rohrabacher speaks about being asked to stay out of Afghanistan

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soundoff (154 Responses)
  1. MP

    all you readers accusing wolf of injecting his opinion in the story need to step back and chill. this is his blog...and a blog, by definition, is "a Web site containing the writer's or group of writers' own experiences, observations, opinions, etc., and often having images and links to other Web sites"... if you want to read news, then go to the homepage and you will get tonnes of it. a blog is where leading journalists and news junkies both get to express their opinions on issues that they feel deserves open discussion. so seriously, stop being moronic.

    May 2, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • Suresh

      Dude, We didn't come to Wolf's blog to read what he is saying there. He pointed us to go there on CNN on national TV. He is a journalist first and foremost and as others suggested he should report and shutup!! But he injected his bias and personal agenda, shock, outrage (and a bit of arrogance that the mighty US) congressman is not allowed into a sovereign nation. Sovereign nations do things as they choose. So Wolf can say we should cut the aid and take it to the congress if he has guts but don't put the blame on others. Control what we can and not what we can't and shouldn't. Get it?

      May 2, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
      • MP

        First of all, you need to get your facts and ideas straight. He is not JUST a journalist, he is also a political comentator, anchor and TV host. Second, someone being a journalist does not preclude them from expressing their own opinions in appropriate avenue. he does not express his opinions when he hosts his shows. but, this part of CNN's website, which is dedicated to his blogging activity is totally his to express his opinion. hence the webaddress situationroom.BLOGS.cnn.com. as long as he does not inject his opinion in a news format, he is allowed to write w/e he wants... now, do YOU get it? if you still don't understand go visit Jack Cafferty's caffertyfile (cnn.com/caffertyfile)... that is what blogs are for.

        May 2, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
  2. Griff

    Kamna Arora Zee Media.

    “On nights like this one, we can say to those families who have lost loved ones to al Qaeda's terror: justice has been done…Today's achievement is testament to the greatness of our country." Americans celebrated as US President Barack Obama announced the death of Osama bin Laden.

    The continued counter-terrorist action taken by the United States is said to have lessened the prospect of another 9/11 in the US. But there is a threat from al Qaeda’s affiliates as well as lone wolves inspired by the group to wage ‘holy war’. Will the agencies be able to identify Faisal Shahzads and underwear bombers? They have a hard task to perform.
    Unquote

    May 1, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
  3. Lloyd Steele

    Outraged? Shocking? I thought you claimed to be a journalist. Report the story. Stop there. And do not clam you have a right to your personal opinion on a blog. You said the same thing on the air. I do not remember your complaining when Rohrabacher, the California loon, screamed when the loon from Iran was even allowed to come to the United Nations.

    April 28, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
  4. Suresh

    Wolf your outrage is meaningless and laughable. (And you talk a lot). Rohrabacher could be anybody and any soverign nation HAS THE AUTHORITY TO SAY NO (that is what Sovereignty means), even in light of Billions being sent to them as aid. No one asked US to go there. You chose to go there and are dealing with the consequences and on top of it you twist the facts to your (US) advantage. Why wasn't a serious story ever aired about how the US miliraty behaved by pissing on Sacred Koran or displaying dismembered bodies of poor dead guys. Where was your or Rohrabacher's outrage? I strongly recommend you and others in the US Media to learn to respect other nations and their people and their wishes and do a bit of fair journalism (which seems all but dead in the US). News in the US is distorted to say the least. ALWAYS one sided. Including CNN (FOX is non-sense). Why can't we all play fair. Let me ask you this: If Iranians or Russians come here and occupy US and piss on Bible and kill a few US rebels "terrorists as you like to call them" and display their parts, how would anyone here react??????

    April 28, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • Tony Naker

      I have to say I am an avid CNN viewer (lately reassessing that), liberal, etc, BUT CNN is going to the POTS! Did Rupert Murdoch buy out CNN? lol . Yes this is a blog, and YES Wolf has rights, BUT as a major public figure on a (the) major news outlet, one would think, he would choose to step OUT of the BS and be above to kinda stuff he is saying. I am shocked at his opinion. That a foreign country that we invaded 10 years ago (for good reason, THEN), has LOST all rights to say anything. to say that he refused a US congressman, like its a sin, COME ON. dont think so Imerialist, or so Ethnocentric. Yes we give them money, BUT NOT in exchange for thier sovergnity and dignity. I am not saying the presidnet of Afghanistan is right, nor am I saying he in on the up and up, I am saying, its not the US, I'm saying it doesn't matter you spoiled brat, you do not have to like everything they do, remember its Afghanistan, not America. WE as Americans need to stop trying to CLONE every country to be just like us. Don't mention the lives and money without mentioning who ordered them in there. Yes there is good reason they are there, BUT you make it sound like we were BEGGED to be invaded and occupied for 10 years. I wont be watching you anymore, you seem to be auditioning for a spot on FOX news!!!

      May 23, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
  5. jane

    To his credit the congressman did not allow you to turn this into a schoolyard brawl. Mr. Blitzer you came across as someone with an agenda, not a pretty sight.

    April 28, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
  6. Lisa Hobson

    Wolf, I thought you were a journalist, not a provocateur. The Congressman proved to be more the realist about the delicate situation the Secretary of State was facing in Afghanistan than Wolf, the growling journalist, obviously projecting himself into the story rather than REPORTING it! Enough already!

    April 28, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
  7. IL Taxpayer

    Just watched Wolf's interview where Congressman Rohrabacher called Karzai a "corrupt primadonna." In the same interview, Congressman Rohrabacher seemed incensed that he had to fly coach to Dubai on the taxpayer's dime. If Congressman Rohrabacher normally flies business class or first class on the taxpayer's dime then HE is the corrupt primadonna. In the interview, the Congressman wreaked of arrogance throughout.

    April 28, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
  8. Ekow

    Why is this even news at all...........? Dont American Embassies all over the world refuse millions of decent people entry into the US all the time? Nobody asked America to spend $2billion a week in Afghanistan and that congressman going there, I believe, will not change anything. I believe he will still vote NO if President Obama decides to end the war and stop sending $2billion to Afghanistan today........this is no new Wolf, give us something better

    April 28, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
  9. jane marian

    To his credit Congressman Rohrabacher refused to play along with Mr. Blitzer's attempt to turn this into a schoolyard brawl. Having been a fan of Mr. Blitzer for many years, I am very disappointed with his rather hysterical approach to his stories over the past monthes. What on earth is going on ?? He was always so professional and now there seems to be a bit of a rush to judgement in his pieces.

    April 28, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • Htet

      Actually, I am not the one that is hostile to the Constitutional sytesm. The Liberals are. Because of the things that they have changed over the years, people, like these border guards are imprisoned, but the people that really should be there are not. I am not for the law at times and not other times. If the Government would just be consistant on following the laws, instead of totally ignoring it at times *like the illegal immigrants* to following it too fully at other times .*like the border guards. If these two men have to serve their sentence, then so should everyone else who doesn't follow the law. And since they don't, then it isn't fair to others, who didn't really break the law, get punished like they did.Good arguement JR .but it falls by the wayside, if you use common sense.-Robert-

      October 11, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
  10. Will

    Wolf – what on Earth are you talking about? How arrogant can you get? Afghanistan is a sovereign country, not a colony in the American Empire. I am sure all that money being spent by the US is out of the goodness of your hearts, and nothing to do with perceived American interests. Afghanistan can admit or refuse anyone they want in to their territory, just like any other country.

    April 28, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
  11. Maripaz

    Wolf, please specify which of the tax payer's money you have quoted as spent in Afghanistan included salaries and logistics by the US Armed Forces, and which ones were used for bribing officials. You've got to be clear on this. It's not like Afghanistan is your 52nd state, is it?

    April 28, 2012 at 4:51 am |
  12. khaled

    CNN's Wolf Blitzer not only lost the minimum respect I had for him as a anchor but has also proven himself to be unprofessional. And to Mr. Proud selfish Dana Rohrabacher, just to remind you and your fellow colleagues that your approval rating among your fellow American is 13%. Yes, that is 3% increase since February!

    April 27, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • Milan

      You do realize that Ron Paul wants to oruvtern Roe v. Wade, right? (Or perhaps you don\'t. I seldom see this discussed.) I don\'t see how holding the rights of a zygote to outweigh those of an adult citizen qualifies as \

      May 21, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
  13. Manning El Paso, TX

    President Hamid Karzai has had a grip over Gorge Bush and president Obama, give him credit he has milk this country dry and now he is going to get more.This is what bankrupt the Russians, let get out now we cannot afford!

    April 27, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
  14. Kenneth

    I have posted comments on Wolf's blog only to see them disappear...someone doesn't want the truth to be heard..I am testing this comment and recording it as I post it to show everyone how a voice of reason backed by facts it removed so it does not discredit CNN or its "journalists"

    April 26, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • livingatsixtyone

      That sucks, let's see if were getting screwed.

      April 26, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
      • Kenneth

        I posted items that provoke thought and commen sense....In the fundamentals of economics, there is the multiplier effect which would mean as reflected in our economy that 120 billion per year spent "On or In" Afghanistan would result in an Afghan GDP about 500 billion per year and the Afghanistan,the size of texas, would have had the infrastructure even superior to developed country after spending 1 trillion tax payer dollars..Ironically the 1(ONE) billion we give the Afghan gov't DIRECTLY is available and accounted for in the book of Afghan gov't but the rest of the $100+ billion WE spend is off limits to the tax payers as "confidential"....I found the corruption in Afghanistan was related adminstrative, where public service employee take bribes from the people, still in a state of war, a country where war has been imposed on Afghans for 30 plus years is no excuse...

        I questioned why Wolf does not question these same politicians when our some leaders among our "allies", disrespect our President and our nation...I wrote many other key points to think about but realize the system that keeps us in the dark has the media by the balls.

        April 27, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
  15. Joyce Ferrell

    Wolf, after hearing your interview with M. Bachmann and her final comment "All in good time my pretty" I had to laugh out loud, LOL I guess that she does not realize that it was the "Wicked Witch" in the Wizard of Oz who said those words.

    April 26, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
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