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GOP subpoenas secret Afghanistan withdrawal files from Biden State Dept.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. (Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)
March 30, 2023

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul said Monday that he had signed a subpoena against the State Department to receive a secret cable concerning the U.S. military’s withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The cable involved Secretary of State Antony Blinken receiving a plea not to follow through on President Joe Biden’s military withdrawal plans in August 2021.

“This committee is empowered by the U.S. Constitution to conduct oversight of the State Department,” McCaul said in a statement.

“We have made multiple good faith attempts to find common ground so we could see this critical piece of information. Unfortunately, Secretary Blinken has refused to provide the Dissent Cable and his response to the cable, forcing me to issue my first subpoena as chairman of this committee. The American people deserve answers as to how this tragedy unfolded, and why 13 U.S. servicemembers lost their lives. We expect the State Department to follow the law and comply with this subpoena in good faith,” he added.

READ MORE: 73% of vets view Biden’s Afghanistan withdrawal ‘negatively’: Poll

The cable reportedly included 23 State Department officials working in the Kabul Embassy along with Blinken’s response. McCaul previously offered to view the cable with redactions and other concessions, but the State Department refused to comply.

The cable was first requested in August 2021, according to the committee. It was requested again on a second occasion, with additional requests on two occasions in January 2023. The document has been under request for over 18 months.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the cable warned against the military withdrawal because Afghanistan was not ready to handle the absence of American military security. The cable adds to other evidence that the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan was imminent and that the nation’s security forces could not stop its government takeover.

In a March 22 letter, the Associated Press noted that the State Department offered to share some material in a briefing.

“The Department is prepared to discuss a path that would communicate to you the circumstances and substance of the requested cable exchange, as an extraordinary accommodation,” the letter read. “The Department trusts that this accommodation will address the Committee’s request for information while preserving the confidential nature of the Dissent Channel.”

The committee refused the concession prior to the subpoena. The investigation continues to push for additional evidence concerning the problems related to America’s military withdrawal from Afghanistan, which included Americans being left behind and the takeover of the nation by the Taliban.