McCaul Subpoenas Dissent Channel Cable, Response from State DepartmentPress Release
Washington, D.C. – House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul has signed a subpoena that will be delivered to Secretary Blinken first thing tomorrow morning for the July 2021 Dissent Channel cable, written by 23 State Department officials working in the Kabul Embassy, and Secretary Blinken’s response. According to reports from The Wall Street Journal, the cable warned the administration was not properly prepared for President Biden’s decision to unilaterally withdraw all U.S. troops from the country. In an attempt to find a middle ground, Chairman McCaul offered to review the document in camera, rather than having it physically delivered to the committee. He also offered to allow the State Department to redact the names of the signers to protect their privacy. But even after making those reasonable concessions, the State Department refused to provide the documents.
“This committee is empowered by the U.S. Constitution to conduct oversight of the State Department,” said McCaul. “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. The American people deserve answers as to how this tragedy unfolded, and why 13 U.S. servicemembers lost their lives. We expect the State Department to follow the law and comply with this subpoena in good faith.”
McCaul signing the subpoena
The Dissent Cable and Secretary Blinken’s response are key documents because they reveal exactly what first-hand information the State Department’s own employees who were on the ground provided to Secretary Blinken about a month prior to evacuation, as well as the Secretary’s response. The cable was first requested in August 2021 by then-Chairman Meeks and requested separately by then-Ranking Member McCaul – meaning the department has known the committee has wanted it for more than 18 months. That request was reiterated on January 12, 2023 and again on January 30, 2023 by Chairman McCaul.
At last week’s committee hearing, Chairman McCaul invalidated the department’s claim there was a precedent for not providing the cable. Their claim was based on a cable sent by former Ambassador Tom Boyatt, who served in Cyprus in the 1970s. Yet, according to Ambassador Boyatt, his cable should have been made public. In a statement to the committee, he wrote, “Congressional oversight enhances executive responsibility and enables us to learn from the inevitable mistakes.”