A top Pentagon official accused of leaking classified information will reportedly resign from his post later this year.
Colin Kahl, the Pentagon's undersecretary of defense for policy, will step down later this summer, NBC reported on Wednesday. Kahl, a known partisan who faced widespread opposition from Senate Republicans during his 2021 confirmation, will depart under a cloud of controversy. He came under fire earlier this year for allegedly leaking classified information to shield the Biden administration from criticism after its botched handling of a Chinese spy balloon floating over American soil.
Kahl, who is known for sporting a man purse and spending much of his time while ensconced at the Pentagon assembling playlists, assumed the Pentagon's top policy job in April 2021, following a pitched battle over his Senate confirmation. Republicans united against Kahl, citing his vitriolic tweets calling the GOP the "party of ethnic cleansing," but Senate Democrats were able to secure his confirmation. Kahl during the Obama administration served as then-vice president Joe Biden's national security adviser.
Kahl most recently made waves for allegedly leaking classified information after the Chinese balloon traversed the United States, collecting sensitive information about military sites. Republican senators say that Kahl provided reporters with classified data indicating that Chinese Communist Party spy balloons also flew over America during the Trump administration. The leak was meant to shift blame from the Biden White House over its mishandling of the spy balloon, the Washington Free Beacon first reported.
"It was a brazen attempt to shift blame," Republican senators Roger Wicker (Miss.) and Marco Rubio (Fla.) wrote in a March letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, requesting an investigation. The Pentagon still has not come clean about the leaks or their source.
Kahl also has been accused of leaking classified information over Twitter and other forums, prompting senators to question whether he was even eligible to receive security clearance. Additional concerns have been raised about Kahl's work at a research center that partnered with China's Peking University, which is closely aligned with the Communist country's military.
Kahl played a principal role in the Biden administration's bungled 2021 evacuation from Afghanistan that left 13 Americans dead. Republican senators who had questioned Kahl's fitness for the top Pentagon position said the Afghanistan debacle proved that Kahl was not up for the job.
Kahl "should never have been nominated by the president or confirmed by the Senate," Sen. Bill Hagerty (R., Tenn.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told the Free Beacon in September 2021, four months after Kahl was confirmed. "In Kahl, we have someone not even qualified for a security clearance at the center of President Biden's incompetently planned and disorderly withdrawal from Afghanistan."
Kahl also played a principal role in the Obama administration's 2015 effort to secure a nuclear deal with Iran, which provided the hardline regime with billions of dollars in cash windfalls.
In 2016, Kahl publicly played defense for Biden when the then-vice president was accused of lobbying foreign leaders, including those in Ukraine, to vote in favor of an anti-Israel resolution at the United Nations.
In addition to moonlighting as a disc jockey under the name "Ph.DJ," Kahl worked to remove pro-Israel language from the Democratic Party's 2012 platform.