Two key documents cautioning U.S. officials about a deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan before withdrawing in 2021 revealed President Joe Biden’s administration failed to heed specific warnings, a top House Republican said.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Michael McCaul (R-TX) and Ranking Member Greg Meeks (D-NY) on Wednesday gained access to a 2021 dissent cable written by Kabul embassy officials from the U.S. State Department, according to Punch Bowl News. The lawmakers viewed the documents, which reportedly urged allies to evacuate immediately before the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan.
“The dissenters were absolutely right about everything they said,” McCaul told Punchbowl News. “And it was a warning to the administration about what was going to happen and what they needed to do. [The dissenters] deserve a medal.”
“Unfortunately, the administration didn’t heed all their warnings, and we got what we got,” McCaul added.
After nearly two decades, Biden withdrew U.S. military presence from Afghanistan in August 2021. Thousands of people concerned with living under the Taliban’s brand of Islamist rule went to the airport in Kabul in an attempt to flee the country. The last troop plane departed after a weeks-long chaotic evacuation, which led to a terrorist attack that killed 13 U.S. service members and 170 civilians, and left up to $24 billion worth of weapons and equipment in the hands of the Taliban.
The Republican lawmaker previously said the American people, veterans, and Gold Star families deserve the right to know the thought process happening inside the embassy to dissent from the policy, including Blinken’s response to the dissenting cable that led to the collapse of Afghanistan that culminated in the killing of 13 service members.
Meeks told Punchbowl News that the key documents contained no new revelations.
“There’s nothing really that we didn’t know,” Meeks said. “There was a dissent cable; there was a reply and action that was being done.”
“Hopefully, that puts to rest this whole thing about having a subpoena, and the president is hiding something or whatever it is,” he added. “That should be put to rest.”
McCaul obtained the classified documents after months of battling Secretary of State Antony Blinken and State Department officials to hand over the report. He also threatened Blinken with a contempt of Congress charge from as soon as May 24 — the first time in U.S. history that lawmakers would take action against a sitting Secretary of State, according to the Republican.
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“I don’t take this lightly because a Secretary of State’s never been held in contempt by Congress before,” McCaul told Fox News. “And I think the secretary realizes that and the gravity. They probably prefer not to go down this route as well.”
State Department officials argue the committee received the classified briefings with a written summary of the dissent, but McCaul said the “misleading” information turned over has been “insufficient.”
McCaul reportedly continues to push for all committee members to view the documents at the State Department and has not disclosed if lawmakers canceled holding Blinken in contempt of Congress.