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House Foreign Affairs Chair McCaul subpoenas Blinken for Afghanistan dissent channel cable

McCaul is also asking Blinken to provide his response to the cable.

Published: March 30, 2023 9:36am

Updated: March 30, 2023 10:44am

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) signed a subpoena demanding that Secretary of State Antony Blinken turn over the dissent channel cable written by nearly two dozen State Department workers in the Kabul Embassy who reportedly warned in July 2021 that the administration was not prepared for a withdrawal from Afghanistan.

McCaul sent the subpoena Tuesday after Blinken refused to provide the document even after Republicans offered to review the cable in camera rather than seeing it in person, the Foreign Affairs Committee stated. The GOP also proposed allowing the State Department to redact the names of the 23 signers, but the agency still would not comply with the request, the committee added.

He is also asking Blinken to provide his response to the cable.

"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," McCaul said.

"The American people deserve answers as to how this tragedy unfolded, and why 13 U.S. servicemembers lost their lives," he said, referring to the suicide bomb that killed 13 U.S. troops and at least 170 Afghan civilians at the Kabul airport during the Afghan withdrawal in August 2021.

The committee first requested the Dissent Cable in August 2021, and McCaul, who was ranking member at the time, re-requested it again that month. The request was reiterated twice in January by McCaul before he issued the subpoena. 

"The Dissent Cable and Secretary Blinken's response are key documents because they reveal exactly what first-hand information the State Department's own employees who were on the ground provided to Secretary Blinken about a month prior to evacuation, as well as the Secretary's response," the committee also said.

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