US Secretary Blinken Threatened with Congress Contempt Over Afghanistan

Wed Feb 28 2024
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WASHINGTON: The chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee has threatened Secretary of State Antony Blinken with contempt of Congress for withholding of documents pertaining to the US abrupt withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021, Western media reported on Tuesday.

Michael McCaul in a letter to Blinken said the law does not permit the State Department to obstruct Congress’s access to the truth.

“The committee is prepared to hold you in contempt of Congress,” he warned.

It is the latest exchange of correspondence between the Biden administration and the Republican controlled House Foreign Affairs Committee, which has been mounting up pressure over the Afghanistan withdrawal.

The end to US’s longest war led to the country quickly plunging into chaos, with thousands of Afghans fleeing due to Taliban’s swift takeover of Kabul.

Citing a range of ignored committee requests McCaul added the State Department’s reasons for withholding the interview notes are not permitted in law and, in fact, against Congress’s constitutional authority.

He also blamed Blinken for failing to comply with the committee’s July 2023 summons and to co-operate with its investigation process.

State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said on Tuesday that the administration has asked McCaul to speak to the Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources, Rich Verma, to discuss its concerns in order to reach some understanding but those requests have gone unanswered.

Under Criminal contempt of Congress, the House or Senate can hold a witness accountable for failing to comply with a committee summons.

McCaul had previously threatened to use the Contempt measure against Blinken but backed off after being allowed access to a department dissent cable.


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