Chairman McCaul reignites threat to hold Sec. Blinken in contempt


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Secretary of State Antony Blinken is back in the hot seat for stonewalling House Republicans seeking documents that may provide answers on the disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal nearly two and a half years later. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, is reigniting his previous threats to take legal action against Blinken, saying he has 'obstructed' Congress' many requests for documents. 'It is appalling that over two years after the deadly and chaotic withdrawal, the Department continues to choose politics over policy,' McCaul wrote in a letter exclusively obtained by DailyMail.com Monday.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken is back in the hot seat for stonewalling House Republicans seeking documents that may provide answers on the disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal nearly two and a half years later. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, is reigniting his previous threats to take legal action against Blinken, saying he has ‘obstructed’ Congress’ many requests for documents. ‘It is appalling that over two years after the deadly and chaotic withdrawal, the Department continues to choose politics over policy,’ McCaul wrote in a letter exclusively obtained by DailyMail.com Monday.

He says his committee will 'pursue' holding him in contempt of Congress if he fails to provide the AAR (after-action review) team's interview notes by March 6. The GOP chairman is specifically demanding AAR files from those most intimately involved in the chaotic withdrawal that will help Republicans complete their investigation and shape legislation to prevent the 'catastrophic mistakes' from ever happening again by providing 'access to the truth.'

He says his committee will ‘pursue’ holding him in contempt of Congress if he fails to provide the AAR (after-action review) team’s interview notes by March 6. The GOP chairman is specifically demanding AAR files from those most intimately involved in the chaotic withdrawal that will help Republicans complete their investigation and shape legislation to prevent the ‘catastrophic mistakes’ from ever happening again by providing ‘access to the truth.’

If McCaul (pictured) follows through with his threat, it will be the first time in U.S. history that a secretary of state would be held in contempt of Congress. McCaul says his committee has pursued the AAR team's interview notes 'in good faith and with every effort to compromise.' But, he goes on, the department has 'not negotiated in good faith and has failed to both comply with the Committee's July 2023 subpoena and fulfill your August 11 personal commitment to cooperate with this investigation.'

If McCaul (pictured) follows through with his threat, it will be the first time in U.S. history that a secretary of state would be held in contempt of Congress. McCaul says his committee has pursued the AAR team’s interview notes ‘in good faith and with every effort to compromise.’ But, he goes on, the department has ‘not negotiated in good faith and has failed to both comply with the Committee’s July 2023 subpoena and fulfill your August 11 personal commitment to cooperate with this investigation.’

Again, he stressed the 'legislative need for these primary source documents.' McCaul writes that department officials told his committee that the Deputy Secretary for Management and Resources Rich Verma 'personally reviewed' the AAR notes. But said they are currently being withheld by the White House and National Security Council. 'The officials communicated this decision is now above their 'paygrade,' he stated in the letter obtained by DailyMail.com. Republicans are still working to hold the Biden administration accountable after the hasty exit from Afghanistan in 2021, during which 13 American service members and at least 170 Afghans were killed.

Again, he stressed the ‘legislative need for these primary source documents.’ McCaul writes that department officials told his committee that the Deputy Secretary for Management and Resources Rich Verma ‘personally reviewed’ the AAR notes. But said they are currently being withheld by the White House and National Security Council. ‘The officials communicated this decision is now above their ‘paygrade,’ he stated in the letter obtained by DailyMail.com. Republicans are still working to hold the Biden administration accountable after the hasty exit from Afghanistan in 2021, during which 13 American service members and at least 170 Afghans were killed.

In addition, the family members of the 13 U.S. troops killed are still demanding answers as not a single Biden administration official has taken the blame for the horrors that unfolded during the withdrawal. McCaul says the documents are necessary to 'prevent the catastrophic mistakes of the withdrawal from happening again.' The back and forth between McCaul and the State Department has been going on for months. McCaul first subpoenaed the department on July 18 for the AAR documents. He described the department's response to that subpoena 'anemic' and unacceptable.

In addition, the family members of the 13 U.S. troops killed are still demanding answers as not a single Biden administration official has taken the blame for the horrors that unfolded during the withdrawal. McCaul says the documents are necessary to ‘prevent the catastrophic mistakes of the withdrawal from happening again.’ The back and forth between McCaul and the State Department has been going on for months. McCaul first subpoenaed the department on July 18 for the AAR documents. He described the department’s response to that subpoena ‘anemic’ and unacceptable.

McCaul and Blinken spoke on the phone on August 11, where the secretary 'personally' promised to provide the chairman the information he is seeking. But now, the 'committee¿s patience has been exhausted,' continues McCaul in the letter. Last year, the committee postponed holding Blinken in contempt of Congress over a separate issue - after he agreed to allow committee leadership to view a classified dissenting cable that U.S. State Department employees sent prior to the Taliban's takeover of Kabul on July 13, 2021.

McCaul and Blinken spoke on the phone on August 11, where the secretary ‘personally’ promised to provide the chairman the information he is seeking. But now, the ‘committee’s patience has been exhausted,’ continues McCaul in the letter. Last year, the committee postponed holding Blinken in contempt of Congress over a separate issue – after he agreed to allow committee leadership to view a classified dissenting cable that U.S. State Department employees sent prior to the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul on July 13, 2021.

The cable warned about a 'deteriorating' security situation' and urged the immediate evacuation of allies, a warning that the Biden administration did not heed, say Republicans. The committee had requested that Naz Durakoglu, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Legislative Affairs and Richard Visek in the Office of the Legal Adviser sit for transcribed interviews. Last July, the State Department quietly released a 87-page report condemning his administration's failure to prepare for the Afghanistan's rapid collapse at the hands of the Taliban in 2021.

The cable warned about a ‘deteriorating’ security situation’ and urged the immediate evacuation of allies, a warning that the Biden administration did not heed, say Republicans. The committee had requested that Naz Durakoglu, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Legislative Affairs and Richard Visek in the Office of the Legal Adviser sit for transcribed interviews. Last July, the State Department quietly released a 87-page report condemning his administration’s failure to prepare for the Afghanistan’s rapid collapse at the hands of the Taliban in 2021.

The investigation found serious pitfalls in leadership and questions about who was in charge before and during the mayhem 'The decisions of both President Trump and President Biden to end the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan had serious consequences for the viability of the Afghan government and its security,' the report says. 'Those decisions are beyond the scope of this review, but the (review) team found that during both administrations there was insufficient senior-level consideration of worst-case scenarios and how quickly those might follow.'

The investigation found serious pitfalls in leadership and questions about who was in charge before and during the mayhem ‘The decisions of both President Trump and President Biden to end the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan had serious consequences for the viability of the Afghan government and its security,’ the report says. ‘Those decisions are beyond the scope of this review, but the (review) team found that during both administrations there was insufficient senior-level consideration of worst-case scenarios and how quickly those might follow.’

It also outlined several strategic failures as the Taliban overran cities - saying there wasn't enough consideration given to 'worst-case scenarios.' As a result, thousands of allies who helped the U.S. in the war were left behind, and there was chaos at Hamid Karzai International Airport as men, women and children tried desperately to flee.

It also outlined several strategic failures as the Taliban overran cities – saying there wasn’t enough consideration given to ‘worst-case scenarios.’ As a result, thousands of allies who helped the U.S. in the war were left behind, and there was chaos at Hamid Karzai International Airport as men, women and children tried desperately to flee.

Even though planning for the evacuation of Kabul began 'some time' beforehand, the State Department was 'hindered by the fact that it was unclear who in the Department had the lead.'

Even though planning for the evacuation of Kabul began ‘some time’ beforehand, the State Department was ‘hindered by the fact that it was unclear who in the Department had the lead.’

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