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Blinken omitted key docs related to Afghan withdrawal in response to House Foreign Affairs chair

The Needle and the Haystack: Though the State Department provided about 300 docs to House Foreign Affairs Committee it didn't include eight potentially critical documents that Chairman McCaul requested in his August 9 letter to Secretary Blinken

Published: August 19, 2023 7:02am

Updated: August 20, 2023 12:17am

Secretary of State Antony Blinken omitted eight key documents related to the Afghanistan withdrawal in his response to a request from House Foreign Affairs Chairman Michael McCaul, Just The News has learned. Commentators on foreign policy, such as former Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Ok.), called the withdrawal "disastrous." 

The State Department provided about 300 documents to the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday but it didn't appear to include the eight that McCaul requested in unredacted form in his August 9 letter to Blinken, according to a committee source. The deadline to provide those was Tuesday.

The requested documents included several memos from Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security Todd Brown that McCaul said are identified in the Afghanistan After-Action Review (AAR). "The AAR files are necessary to inform the Committee’s consideration of potential legislation aimed at helping prevent the catastrophic mistakes of the withdrawal from happening again,” said McCaul in a statement on August 10.

"The Department’s anemic subpoena response suggests that it is either deliberately obstructing the Committee’s oversight, or that its document retention, location, and production procedures are astoundingly deficient. Neither is acceptable," McCaul wrote in the August 9 letter.

The department dumped 300 documents on the committee this week, but a committee source told Just The News that it mostly contained already known information.

McCaul said he was pleased that the department responded to his request with the additional 300 documents and he hopes the cooperation continues on a regular basis.

“After a call with Secretary Blinken where he promised more regular production of documents, the State Department released another 300 pages of documents related into our investigation into the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan. I appreciate the secretary’s commitment to me to provide more regular document production going forward and hope he is true to his word on that," McCaul said. "Time is of the essence and we owe our veterans and our Gold Star families answers."

McCaul has also vowed to get more answers from the Biden administration with regard to the attack that killed 13 service members and 170 Afghans during the chaotic withdrawal from what the White House called "Operation Freedom’s Sentinel." He said that U.S. intelligence was aware that ISIS was planning an attack to kill Americans in Afghanistan but a request for a preemptive U.S. airstrike was denied, according to a report.

“I will not rest until we get answers and accountability as to what happened,” McCaul said. “How did this go so wrong?”

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