Rep. McCaul Plans to Issue Subpoena If State Refuses Afghanistan Withdrawal Document Request

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said Sunday he is prepared to issue a subpoena if the State Department fails to cooperate with the committee’s document production request on the Afghanistan withdrawal.

“The State Department has not been compliant with our document request,” McCaul told Margaret Brennan on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

McCaul said he met with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and had a “very cordial conversation.”

“Cooperation is always key,” McCaul said. “But they’re not cooperating. If he fails to cooperate with my document production request by, you know, the time he testifies on March 23, I am prepared to issue a subpoena.”

McCaul led a full committee hearing last week to examine the Biden administration’s role in the abrupt evacuation of the U.S. military from Afghanistan in August 2021, resulting in the Taliban regaining control of the country.

During the final days of U.S. military involvement, the administration conducted an evacuation effort to fly U.S. citizens and Afghans out of the war-torn country. The event lead to a suicide bombing at Hamid Karazai International Airport that killed 13 U.S. troops and 170 civilians.

The March 9 committee hearing witnessed Marine Corps sniper Tyler Vargas-Andrews recount how his warnings of a potential suicide bomber were disregarded by commanders moments before the Kabul airport explosion.

“We had eyes on these two individuals that fit this exact description we were given from our intel assets,” Vargas-Andrews said. “Both myself and my team leader asked for engagement authority and he responded [that] he did not have that authority, so we asked who did, and he told us he did not know and would go find out.”

McCaul said the most traumatic part of the events of the bombing was that Vargas-Andrews had the suicide bomber in his sights, but when it was run up the chain of command, the commanding officer said he did not have the authority for permission to engage and never followed up with the troops on who did.

“The point is they could have taken out this threat,” McCaul said. “It could have been avoided.”

While the State Department said they have briefed Congress more than 150 times since the withdrawal, McCaul referenced Vargas-Andrews as an example of information that has not been shared.

“We need these documents because this stuff has never been brought out to the public,” McCaul said. “I intend to move forward with this investigation and want what that commanding officer was thinking when he denied permission to take out a threat and what levels did it go to within the United States government? I think those are all very important questions.”

McCaul said that though Blinken wants to cooperate with the investigation and be transparent to the American people, the lawyers are combating the outstanding document production request that focuses on multiple areas of the administration’s planning of the withdrawal.

“It’s the dissent cable, an extraordinary measure to have 23 members of the State Department at the embassy dissenting with the policy, the action report from the ambassador, but also, the plan of evacuation. Just a simple plan of evacuation. What was your plan?” McCaul said. “They have failed to deliver that to Congress. Those are three key areas that we want to see compliance with.”

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