U.S. House Members View Afghanistan Cable Amid Subpoena Fight

Rep. Michael McCaul speaks when U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken testifies before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on The Biden Administration’s Priorities for U.S. Foreign Policy on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., March 10, 2021. (Ken Cedeno/Pool via Reuters/File Photo)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) — The leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday privately viewed a classified cable related to the August 2021 U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, as the panel’s Republican chairperson and the State Department grapple over providing access to the document.

Representatives Michael McCaul, the panel’s Republican chair, and Gregory Meeks, its top Democrat, viewed the cable at the State Department after McCaul last week said he had accepted an invitation to do so and would pause attempts to enforce a subpoena to obtain it.

Meeks said in a statement afterward that a briefing provided to committee members and summary of the cable faithfully reflected its contents.

McCaul’s office did not have an immediate comment.

McCaul is investigating the withdrawal from Afghanistan. Republicans, and some Democrats, say there has never been a full accounting of the chaotic operation, in which 13 U.S. service members were killed at Kabul’s airport.

He has for months been seeking the “dissent channel” cable sent in July 2021 that a Wall Street Journal article in August 2021 said warned top officials of the potential collapse of Kabul soon after the withdrawal of U.S. troops. The channel allows State Department officials to air concerns to supervisors.

Making the cable available for McCaul and Meeks’ private review was “extraordinary accommodation” on behalf of the State Department, spokesperson Matthew Miller said.

“We believe that ought to satisfy our obligation to provide them with the information that they need. But we will continue to engage with them” about the issue, he said.

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