McCaul said that he has given Blinken a third deadline of May 11 to comply voluntarily or he will move forward with contempt proceedings….reports Asian Lite News
US House Foreign Affairs Chairman Michael McCaul has threatened to hold Secretary of State Antony Blinken in contempt of Congress over his panel’s investigation into the US exit from Afghanistan, CNN reported.
The letter comes after McCaul subpoenaed Blinken in March for a dissent cable written by US diplomats in Kabul criticizing the Biden administration’s plans to withdraw troops in 2021. Michael McCaul said the information the US State Department has released is “insufficient.” He further said that the department is “now in violation of its legal obligation to produce these documents and must do so immediately,” CNN cited the letter.
McCaul said that he has given Blinken a third deadline of May 11 to comply voluntarily or he will move forward with contempt proceedings. In August 2021, the United States withdrew the last of its troops from Afghanistan.
“House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul sent a letter to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday regarding the department’s failure to comply with the committee’s subpoena compelling it to produce of the July 13, 2021 Dissent Channel cable regarding Afghanistan and the department’s official response to it, as well as the insufficiency of the department’s summaries of these documents and its April 27 briefing on them,” US Foreign Affairs Committee in the press release said.
It further said, “Chairman McCaul threatened to hold Secretary Blinken in contempt of Congress and/or initiate a civil enforcement process if the department fails to produce the subpoenaed documents,” US Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul said in the press release.
According to the press release, McCaul wrote, “The Department is now in violation of its legal obligation to produce these documents and must do so immediately.” He further stated, “As noted above, should the Department fail to comply with its legal obligation, the Committee is prepared to take the necessary steps to enforce its subpoena, including holding you in contempt of Congress and/or initiating a civil enforcement proceeding.”
Meanwhile, the US State Department Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel on Monday (local time) said that the information provided by the US State Department is “sufficient.”
“I don’t have anything additional to add, Matt, but I will reiterate what we shared this morning, which is that it’s unfortunate that after being provided a classified briefing and being provided a written summary of the contents of the dissent channel cable as well as the department’s response, that the House Foreign Affairs Committee continues to pursue this,” Vedant Patel said when asked about McCaul’s statement in the press briefing.
“Our viewpoint is that the materials and briefings that we’ve offered and provided have sufficiently met the mark when it comes to the committee’s legitimate oversight request,” he added.
He further stated that the US State Department continues to engage with Congress and the committee when it comes to correspondence and things of that nature. He stressed on the importance of the dissent channel cable and the integrity which it holds here in the State Department. He further said, “We will continue to do what we can and what we need to protect it.”
McCaul considers the dissent cable as a crucial document for his committee’s investigation, according to CNN report. However, Antony Blinken has told the panel that he opposes sharing the full document due to concerns it could have a dangerous impact on diplomats’ use of the channel, which he stressed is a confidential way for them to share concerns with top State Department officials. (ANI)