McCaul Threatens to Hold Blinken in Contempt of Congress over Afghanistan Disaster Documents

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) warned Secretary of State Antony Blinken that he would move to hold Blinken in contempt of Congress should he not satisfy subpoena requests related to the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, according to a letter McCaul wrote to Blinken and published Monday.

McCaul, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, wrote that he had given Blinken a number of extensions to comply with the subpoena, originally issued March 28, but that the secretary of state’s response remained “insufficient.”

McCaul is primarily seeking a full copy of a dissent cable that had been signed by nearly two dozen State Department officials warning Blinken of a Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan a month before the terrorist group’s takeover occurred.

The cable, which the Wall Street Journal reported on in 2021, served as an indication that the Biden administration could have potentially been better prepared for the Afghanistan evacuation so as to avoid at least some of the loss of life and chaos that occurred during it.

“The Department is now in violation of its legal obligation to produce these documents and must do so immediately,” McCaul wrote.

Blinken had responded to McCaul’s subpoena with a one-page summary of the cable, roughly a quarter of the size of the original cable, McCaul said.

The State Department also gave McCaul a briefing on April 27, which the chairman said was likewise inadequate. He said that, for instance, the official giving the briefing could not identify or even estimate how many officials had signed the cable despite the Journal reporting 23 had signed it.

McCaul wrote, “It strains credulity to believe that the official responsible for preparing the cable summary and briefing Congress on it would be unable to provide this information.”

State Department spokesman Vedant Patel responded, per Reuters, that it was “unfortunate that after being provided a classified briefing and being provided a written summary of the contents of the dissent channel cable as well as the department’s response, the House Foreign Affairs Committee continues to pursue this.”

McCaul listed several options for Blinken to satisfy the subpoena requests, including allowing names to be redacted on the cable.

He gave Blinken until May 11 to respond.

“Should the Department fail to comply with its legal obligation, the Committee is prepared to take the necessary steps to enforce its subpoena, including holding you in contempt of Congress and/or initiating a civil enforcement proceeding,” McCaul wrote.

Flashback: Marine Speaks Out, Demands Accountability from Senior Leaders on Afghanistan
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Write to Ashley Oliver at Follow her on Twitter at @asholiver.


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