House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul subpoenaed Secretary of State Antony Blinken, to demand the official records on the department’s Dissent Channel warning against a speedy withdrawal from Afghanistan. The Dissent Channel is a confidential channel operated by the State Department and used by foreign affairs officials and other government employees. Employees may use the channel to share dissenting opinions about the government or matters of foreign affairs.
The cable from the State Department may reveal what the department’s employees in Kabul shared with Blinken and the Biden administration nearly a month before troops were withdrawn. McCaul’s press release said the record was first requested in August 2021, after U.S. troops and staff were evacuated.
Signed by 23 staffers from the U.S. Embassy in Kabul on July 13, 2021, the Dissent Channel cable warned the State Department that the Taliban was rapidly advancing in Afghanistan, forecasting a situation the Afghan military would be unable to handle. McCaul said in a statement that Blinken has refused to provide the cable despite multiple concessions being offered on McCaul’s behalf: “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. service members lost their lives.” McCaul said concessions included reviewing the documents by camera and having the names of staffers who signed the cable redacted.
Blinken testified to the Foreign Affairs Committee last week and during his testimony he said he was preparing the relevant information the committee is seeking.
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