State Department Fails To Comply With House GOP Subpoena To Turn Over Afghan Dissent Cable
April 21, 2023 | Tags: ZEROHEDGEState Department Fails To Comply With House GOP Subpoena To Turn Over Afghan Dissent Cable
Authored by Jackson Richman via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
Secretary of State Antony Blinken has failed to comply with a congressional subpoena, which required the State Department to hand over by April 19 a dissent cable from the time of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Epoch Times has learned.
Yimmi Fontenot, the press secretary for Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, which issued the subpoena, told The Epoch Times that the State Department has not sent over the cable.
The committee subpoenaed Blinken in March for the cable, which, as The Wall Street Journal first reported, showed the U.S. Embassy in Kabul warning Foggy Bottom about the Taliban quickly gaining ground and the Afghan forces falling apart. They gave suggestions on how to expedite an evacuation and alleviate the situation.
“The cable, dated July 13, also called for the State Department to use tougher language in describing the atrocities being committed by the Taliban,” reported WSJ, citing a person familiar with it. The withdrawal was completed at the end of the following month.
“This committee is empowered by the U.S. Constitution to conduct oversight of the State Department,” said committee chairman Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) in announcing the subpoena on March 28.
“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 has requested the cable on multiple occasions.
In a statement to The Epoch Times, the State Department implied it has not turned over the document.
“Secretary Blinken has continued to make clear his and the State Department’s commitment to working with the House Foreign Affairs committee to provide relevant information, while also upholding his responsibility to protect the integrity of the Department’s dissent channel,” said Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel.
“Discussions with the committee about next steps are ongoing, but the Department has again offered a briefing about the concerns raised and the challenges identified by Embassy Kabul, proposed for next week, which we sincerely hope the Chairman will accept, in addition to offering other means to help inform the Committee in its investigation,” he continued.
Blinken told the committee during a March 23 hearing that he would not hand over the cable, citing security and privacy concerns with the State Department’s dissent channel system.
“We continue to believe that our offers can satisfactorily provide the committee with the information it needs to conduct its oversight function while still protecting the dissent channel.”
“It is vital to me that we preserve the integrity of that process and of that channel, that we not take any steps that could have a chilling effect on the willingness of others to come forward in the future, to express dissenting views on the policies that are being pursued,” he said.
However, Blinken expressed a willingness to give the committee “relevant information” from it.
“I hope we can find a way to do it that meets both of our needs,” he said.
McCaul, on the eve of the subpoena deadline, suggested that he would take Blinken to court if he didn’t comply with the subpoena.
“Honestly, I think they’re trying to stonewall this until the end of this Congress,” McCaul told Punchbowl News.