- The Washington Times - Monday, March 27, 2023

House Foreign Affairs Chairman Michael McCaul said Monday that he has signed a subpoena to force the State Department to turn over a secret cable revealing diplomats’ urgent plea to Secretary of State Antony Blinken in 2021 not to follow through on President Biden’s troop-withdrawal plans.

The cable came from 23 department employees working in the embassy in Kabul.

Mr. McCaul said he has also subpoenaed Mr. Blinken’s response.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the cable warned the administration that Afghanistan wasn’t ready for the troop withdrawal.

The message was sent via the State Department’s “dissent channel,” which is supposed to allow any employee a direct line to the secretary to challenge department orthodoxy.

Mr. Blinken has refused to turn over the documents. In a hearing last week he told Mr. McCaul he feared chilling the operations of the dissent channel.

The Texas Republican said he had offered to allow the department to redact the names of the employees and to facilitate a review in camera so it always had control of the document. After the department declined those offers, Mr. McCaul said he had to turn to the subpoena.

“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,” he said.

The cable was also the subject of a request by Democrats when they were in control of the House, though then-Chairman Gregory Meeks did not force the issue through a subpoena.

Mr. McCaul has made the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan a key focus of the committee now that it is under GOP control.

In one hearing earlier this month a Marine who was sent to Kabul revealed that he had identified the man who is believed to have later set off the explosive that killed 13 American troops and many more Afghans. He said his request to take the man down was denied by higher-ups.

While this is Mr. McCaul’s first subpoena, it is the latest in a flurry of demands emanating from the GOP-led House to the administration.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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