WASHINGTON – The chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee said late Monday that he would subpoena Secretary of State Anthony Brinken over documents the panel had demanded for months regarding the failed US withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Rep. Michael McCall (R-Texas) has ordered the State Department to surrender the July 13, 2021 “dissent telegram” by 23 diplomats until the end of business. Afghan security forces have provided recommendations on how to mitigate the crisis and speed up evacuation. ”
“We have made many good faith attempts to find common ground so that we can verify this important information,” McCall said in a statement. “Unfortunately, Secretary Brinken refused to provide his response to the counter telegram and telegram, which compelled me to issue his first subpoena as chairman of this committee.”
State Department spokesman Vedant Patel said Monday that diplomats use the dissent channel’s “valuable tradition” as “a unique way for everyone at the State Department to speak truth to power without fear or favor.” said it does.
“They are doing it in a privileged and confidential way, following the regulations we have established for these cables,” he added. is very important to us.”
Asked on Monday afternoon whether the State Department would comply with the commission’s request, Mr. Patel objected, admitting he was “really interested in the content of this particular telegram.”
“In that spirit, we stand ready to make available relevant information for Cable, including group briefings and other mechanisms,” he said.
But McCall claimed the department refused to hand over the cable, even though the chairman allowed him to review the document on camera and redact the names of the diplomats who signed it.
The cable is one of “three specific priorities” Republican lawmakers want oversight investigations into the Biden administration’s bumbling bugout from Afghanistan in August 2021. Number of Afghans in ISIS suicide bombing at Kabul airport culminating in chaotic evacuation mission leading to 100 deaths.
“The American people deserve answers about how this tragedy unfolded and why 13 American servicemen lost their lives,” McCall said Monday. “We expect the Department of State to comply with the law and comply with this subpoena in good faith.”
The other two items are a post-mortem report by career diplomat Daniel Smith and two versions of the evacuation plan prepared by the US Embassy in Afghanistan.
The commission also called for “all cables and intelligence community products regarding the threat of ISIS-K or other terrorist groups to Hamid Karzai International Airport after January 1, 2021.”
The Commission first requested the documents in a 23-point letter with a January 26 compliance deadline.
By March 3, the State Department “provided only two small drafts” – neither of which was particularly revealing.
“Of the 218 pages produced, 88 consisted of previously embargoed versions of the final report of the Afghanistan Study Group, a document published on 3 February 2021,” he said. Told. “On 10 February 2023, the ministry produced an additional production totaling 18 pages consisting of the text of the unclassified opening statements from the classified briefing on Afghanistan on 15 June 2022.”
McCall on March 20th Blinken has issued a new deadline Create your “three highly specific immediate priorities” for March 23rd.
When that deadline was not met, the Chair pushed it again on Monday.
McCaul was looking for telegrams and other withdrawal-related documents even before the drawdown was completed. He first called for them to be submitted to the State Department on August 20, 2021, ten days before the last American soldier left Afghanistan, in a letter signed by 22 of his other House Republicans.
Republicans were in the minority in the House at the time, and Republican efforts were in vain until they won a majority in last year’s midterm elections and McCall became chairman of the committee.