President Biden’s administration failed to heed certain warnings from U.S. officials on the ground in Afghanistan prior to the president’s withdrawal operation in 2021, a top House Republican says.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, viewed a State Department document detailing the concerns diplomats at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul had at the time of the withdrawal. McCaul worked for months to access the document, known as a dissent cable, through subpoenas and a threat of contempt charges before viewing the document himself on Tuesday.
“The dissenters were absolutely right about everything they said, and it was a warning to the administration about what was going to happen and what they needed to do,” McCaul told Punchbowl News in an interview, adding that the dissenters “deserve a medal.”
“Unfortunately, the administration didn’t heed all their warnings and we got what we got,” he added.
McCaul viewed a version of the document that had the names of the dissenters redacted. Only he and Rep. Greg Meeks, D-N.Y., the ranking member of the committee, were permitted to view the document.
Meeks argued the document revealed no new information, however, it “puts to rest this whole thing about having a subpoena and the president is hiding something or whatever it is.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken had for months stonewalled McCaul’s attempts to access the document, ignoring multiple subpoena deadlines and offering half measures such as a briefing on the document’s content rather than a look at the document itself.
McCaul did not make any progress until earlier in May when he threatened to hold Blinken in contempt of Congress for blocking access. Even so, only he and Meeks were allowed to view the document Tuesday, despite McCaul’s wish for every member of the Foreign Affairs Committee to gain access.
It is unclear whether McCaul will continue to push for other members’ access after viewing the document itself. McCaul had initially threatened to go into the criminal contempt process on Wednesday. His office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday morning.