Blinken Backs Down, Gives House GOP Access to Docs on Afghanistan Debacle Under Threat of Contempt
The Biden Administration has been singing a different tune the past couple of months, when it comes to the debacle of President Joe Biden pulling U.S. servicemembers out of Afghanistan. Readers might remember in March, when Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin testified before the House Armed Services Committee. My colleague Susie Moore wrote:
During the testimony, Austin was questioned by Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) regarding the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan in late August of 2021. When asked by Banks whether he had any regrets about the withdrawal, Austin gave a stunning response….
“I don’t have any regrets,” said Austin. When further pressed as to accountability, Austin at first demurred then stated he was not aware of anyone being held to account regarding the withdrawal.
Or pehaps you recall the review the Administration released in April of the departure from Afghanistan, in which they basically blamed former President Donald Trump for their incompetence. RedState’s Mike Miller wrote that “[t]he review repeatedly criticizes the Trump administration for “constraining the conditions” of American withdrawal.” Not even CBS News was buying Team Biden’s whitewash of the debacle.
The Republican-majority House kept pressing the State Department—and Secretary Antony Blinken in particular—to release documents about what really happened in Afghanistan. In an interview six days ago, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) “told Fox News Digital….that he planned to introduce the contempt charge on May 24.”
“I don’t take this lightly because a Secretary of State’s never been held in contempt by Congress before,” McCaul told Fox. “And I think the secretary realizes that and the gravity. They probably prefer not to go down this route as well. But if they do not comply, we’re prepared to move forward next week with a markup for resolution of contempt.”
Now, Blinken has backed down, according to a new report at Fox News:
House Republicans will be able to view documents this week relating to President Biden’s Afghanistan withdrawal after months of stonewalling by the State Department.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, will access the documents at the State Department offices this week after threatening to hit Secretary of State Antony Blinken with a contempt of Congress charge. The document, a dissent cable from the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, details any misgivings State Department officials there had with Biden’s withdrawal plans.
McCaul had subpoenaed the document multiple times in the early months of this year, but Blinken had failed to provide it. The State Department instead offered a briefing on the document’s contents, a move McCaul accepted while still demanding to see the document itself.
The report continues:
McCaul will visit the department this week to read the document alongside Rep. Greg Meeks, D-N.Y., the ranking member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, according to Punchbowl News.
The pair will view the document in full, but the names of those who contributed to the dissent report will be redacted.
This is wonderful, to see the Republicans displaying a backbone against the ongoing silence by the Biden Administration on critical questions about our national and foreign policies. Let’s hope they keep on this path.