For the third time on Tuesday, President Biden’s administration defied a congressional demand for records related to the failed US departure from Afghanistan.
The subpoena was issued by Rep. Mike McCaul, R-Texas, as chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Secretary of State Tony Blinken missed the original March deadline to provide the records, then missed it again in April when McCaul extended the date. McCaul’s latest line in the sand was May 1, and Blinken refused to release the records again.
McCaul’s subpoena requests a dissent cable from the US Embassy in Kabul, a document that would have conveyed any reservations officials had about Biden’s intentions.
Rather than complying with the subpoena, the State Department volunteered to inform McCaul and his committee of the contents of the records. In April, McCaul accepted the briefing but noted that it did not represent compliance with the subpoena. Even after the briefing, McCaul and other Republicans on the committee still had questions that could only be answered by reviewing the document.
On Monday, State Department senior deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel told reporters that the DOS (Department of State) thinks it has done nothing illegal. At a press conference, Patel said they had offered a solution that was sufficient for the House Foreign Affairs Committee to conduct its oversight.
Patel said this had included a written summary of dissent from the Kabul embassy and others. It has also included a closed-door classified briefing on these themes to the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
At a March hearing, Blinken stated that the State Department would never release the dissent cable, arguing that doing so would jeopardize the authenticity of future cables.
The departure of the United States from Afghanistan was one of the low points of Biden’s administration. While most Americans supported the decision to leave the country, they also heavily criticized Biden’s handling of the operation. During his testimony, Blinken emphasized the importance of avoiding any actions that might discourage individuals from sharing their opinions or expressing dissenting views about current policies in the future.