November 9th, 2009
08:11 PM ET
13 years ago

WH denies Afghan decision made, as tensions flare with Pentagon

Washington (CNN) - White House National Security Adviser Retired Gen. Jim Jones issued a rare public statement Monday vehemently denying media reports suggesting President Obama has privately decided to send close to 40,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, as tensions between the White House and Pentagon appear to be flaring up over exactly what the president will announce.

"Reports that President Obama has made a decision about Afghanistan are absolutely false," Jones, who generally keeps a low public profile, said in a prepared statement Monday night. "He has not received final options for his consideration, he has not reviewed those options with his national security team, and he has not made any decisions about resources. Any reports to the contrary are completely untrue and come from uninformed sources."

The statement was issued shortly after CBS News' veteran Pentagon Correspondent David Martin reported that Obama has "tentatively decided" to send four more combat brigades to Afghanistan and several thousand more support troops starting early next year. That would bring the total number of new troops to close to the 40,000 figure originally requested by Gen. Stanley McChrystal.

Two other senior administration officials flatly told CNN that the CBS report and other similar speculation is false. The Associated Press reported Monday that Obama is "nearing a decision to add tens of thousands more forces to Afghanistan, though not quite the 40,000 sought [by] his top general there."

The two senior administration officials suggested the information is being leaked by Pentagon sources who are trying to box Obama in by setting public expectations that he will send close to 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan as McChrystal requested.

"People at the Pentagon are trying to force a certain outcome," one of the senior administration officials told CNN.

Both senior administration officials insisted Obama has not made any decision on troop levels in Afghanistan, noting the President has another meeting with his national security team on Wednesday to receive a final set of recommendations from the Pentagon brass. The senior officials said the president could not possibly make a decision on troop levels before even receiving the Pentagon's final recommendations.

Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday it's "doubtful" Obama will announce a troop decision before he leaves for a trip to Asia on Thursday. It's considered unlikely Obama will make such an announcement during his trip to Asia, which is largely focused on economic matters and separate diplomatic issues like North Korea's nuclear program.

Obama is scheduled to return from Asia on Friday November 20 after stops in Japan, Singapore, China, and South Korea. Officials have suggested the President could announce a troop decision sometime shortly before or after Thanksgiving, though Gibbs has vaguely said the decision will be revealed in "coming weeks" so as not to be pinned down.

Filed under: Afghanistan
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. We Won Get Over It

    So I guess the network and news stations are jealous of Fox and the way they make up news, they decided to make up their own...

    This is stupid stupid what a joke...say I got an idea. I'll go to a news station and apply for a job. Heck I can make up junk as good or not better than Fox for them.

    November 9, 2009 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  2. seattle-ite

    Move them out and bring them home Obama not getting anywhere fast and solving nothing it't a loosing battle /loosing lives for no reason . Sent Chene and his daughter to the fron lines or send the old war monger water boarder to jail yesterday.

    November 9, 2009 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  3. Dennis, Amarillo Texas

    Outrage! Outrage ! Upon Outrage! ABC News has just reported Hasan has been known to multiple U.S. Agencies to have been in contact with several terror groups, hoping to plan an attack! ABC confronted President Obama with questions, such as, How could after all the past studies of Agencies and improvements put in place during the Bush administration, how did your agencies not communicate properly, how could your Administration not been sharing information and did not do more to prevent this terrorist action in Texas last week? All Obama could studder out was, "All our hearts go out to the families of those killed and wounded. We promise to make a complete investigation". After all the campaign speeches where Obama and the Democrats for 8 years condemned Bush, ridiculed Bush, and blamed Bush for 9/11! Now here Obama and his Agencies KNEW about Hasan & sat on their hands! Outrage! Outrage! Outrage!

    November 9, 2009 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  4. Mike

    This is disgraceful. Our President has fumbled for three months while emboldening our enemies. If I was Gen. McCrystal, I would resign.

    November 9, 2009 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  5. Tim

    How dare anyone rush the Great One.

    What a joke, he's so stuck on himself that it must hurt when he raises an arm.

    November 9, 2009 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  6. Tim

    Obama is following Bush again. He'll talk to the soldiers effected by the recent tradegy when the cameras are rolling. Bush met with them in private. Obama gave a shout out to some Indians before he made a drone statement about not jumping to conclusions.

    November 9, 2009 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  7. Keith in Austin

    Why can't Obozo make a decision? Inexperience? Political wind? Fear of left-wing reaction? What ever the cause, grow a pair Barry and LEAD for a change!

    November 9, 2009 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  8. once upon a horse

    Truth is no matter WHAT decision the president makes on this you can bet he's going to catch heat on it one way or the other. The Republicans seem to be hell bent on war and want him to send more troops in, yet if he does this surge and the death toll there starts to rise I'm sure they are not going to stand behind him on that decision. If he decides to do what it appears the nation wants him to do and start a withdrawl then he'll be labeled soft on terror. I think the BEST thing that could come out of all of this would be for Osma Bin Laden, dead or alive. be found on Obama's watch. His poll numbers will go up and even the GOP and FoxNews will have a hard time putting a negative spin on that.

    November 9, 2009 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  9. snowflake

    If only the media would let the Obama Administration rule their own White House/ and the same goes for the Pentagon, and issues related to the same! It seems the media always has their nose into 'business" that is NOT their concern!! It is no wonder there are always at least 10 different views of one subject!! AND NONE OF THEM WILL BE TRUE!!

    November 9, 2009 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  10. S M R

    Settle down People, This war would be over if Bush/Cheney wouldn't have INVADED the NO WMD war in IRAQ!!!

    November 9, 2009 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  11. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    The Republicans are spreading lies and false propaganda just like they helped Bush/Cheney do for 8 years that got us into this mess. Republicans are on one mission and that is a mission of total distruction while lining their pockets with blood money.

    November 9, 2009 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    Get out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Obama I voted for you because I thought you had the frijoles to stand up to the military industrial complex. Apparently, this is not true. When the argument is made that 'it's more complicated than that' is the biggest cop-out ever. I'm amazed that someone as bright and powerful as you and would cave to the military estimation that this is a winnable war. The surge will initially erradicate the resistance but they'll be back. It's in their blood. Quit spilling others!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11

    November 9, 2009 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  13. chubby

    So poor ole week kneed liberal demorat nobama still cannot make a decision. Why is this not surprising?

    November 9, 2009 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  14. New Father

    "He has not received final options for his consideration, he has not reviewed those options" So we go from a president who jumps into war to a president who can't decide what to do. I wonder how many more "it's only been 5 months, It's only been 10 months, its only been" Reminds me of the new Apple commercial. The do nothing prez from the do nothing Congress.

    November 9, 2009 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  15. Carole

    WOW!!!! Didn't CBS jump all over CNN a month or so ago about a false news story.

    Pot calling the kettle Noir?

    November 9, 2009 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  16. Bev

    Quit telling lies Obama!!!

    I have seen 4 different articles saying that you have approved the 40,000 troops for Afghanistan.

    It is time to be a man Obama-–and own up to your decisions--no matter how unpopular it makes you to the loony left.

    November 9, 2009 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  17. Travis

    get in or get out.

    November 9, 2009 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  18. D.

    The president has his own priority, which is himself. Does he need protest of anarchists when getting the Nobel prize for peace in December? No, it will ruin the PR and no picture for 2012 campaign. So believe me no decision will be made before he gets the prize.
    Obama first the troops last!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 9, 2009 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  19. lovable liberal

    Generals shouldn't be in politics. Fire them if they're trying to manage up. Harry Truman was right to fire Douglas MacArthur. President Obama should pick out someone to make an example of.

    November 9, 2009 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  20. On the other hand...

    He has already waited so long I think this qualifies as a failed decision already... the inability to make one.

    I'm glad President Bush was able to make a quick decision on the Iraq surge and not leave it for Obama. We would still be up to our ears in that war rather than on our way out.

    November 9, 2009 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  21. J.V.Hodgson

    I continue to be appalled by these so called "sources" of any media especially when it is matter of war policy and strategy, publicising which merely helps the Taliban and AlQaeda.
    Further more it is speculative and for minions in the Pentagon to believe they can force a particular agenda thru the National security team at a meeting next Wednesday, is the media trying to continue to justify reporting a story denied overtly and publicly by The NSA head and also the Press secretary repeatedly saying no decision yet.
    Frankly I would if I were Obama have the Pentagon investigated to find thes sources and then fire them for a breach of national security and Lying.
    I wouls also issue warnings to all Pentagon, NSA and State, that any unauthorised leaks to the press true or false will be pusued and the culprits fired!
    It is nonsense.

    November 10, 2009 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  22. Rosebud

    US Military needs to leave Afghanistan and replace them with volunteers to teach, build and develop their nation. Yes, its an outlandish idea, but I would rather serve the needs of the people with hope than provide then with targets.

    November 10, 2009 01:06 am at 1:06 am |