US House member 'pauses' subpoena attempt over Afghanistan cable
By Patricia Zengerle
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee said on Thursday he accepted the State Department's invitation to view a classified cable related to the August 2021 withdrawal from Afghanistan and would "pause" attempts to enforce a subpoena to obtain it.
“In light of this invitation, I will pause efforts to enforce the Committee’s subpoena pending my review of the documents,” Republican Representative Michael McCaul wrote in a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
“Please note, however, that the subpoena remains in full force and effect, and the acceptance of this accommodation does not waive any of the Committee’s rights regarding the subpoena," McCaul wrote.
The State Department said on Wednesday it would let McCaul and committee Democrat Gregory Meeks view a redacted version of the cable to protect the identity of those using its "dissent channel," which allows State Department officials to air concerns to supervisors.
McCaul had scheduled a committee meeting next week to consider a contempt of Congress charge against Blinken over his refusal to release the cable despite the subpoena.
In his letter, McCaul said he still wanted every member of the foreign affairs committee to be able to view the cable, something the State Department has resisted to protect the integrity of its dissent channel system.
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.
McCaul has for months been seeking a "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 State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on McCaul's letter.
(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; editing by Grant McCool)