State Department offers to let Rep. Michael McCaul view classified Afghanistan cable

WASHINGTON — The State Department on Wednesday moved to allow the Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee to view a classified cable from U.S. diplomats in Kabul sent shortly before the chaotic pullout from Afghanistan.

Representative Michael McCaul of Texas had earlier this week threatened to make an unprecedented effort to hold Secretary of State Antony Blinken in contempt of Congress if he did not hand over the so-called dissent cable.

It was not immediately clear whether the State Department’s offer would appease the Republican lawmaker, who also wanted to see Blinken’s response to the cable.

State Department deputy spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters Wednesday that McCaul, along with Rep. Gregory Meeks of New York, the committee’s top Democrat, would be invited to the department to view the cable “with the appropriate personal information redacted”.

“President McCaul himself said that was what he was interested in,” Patel said. “So we sincerely hope that our offer here will be sufficient to satisfy their request for information.”

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McCaul planned to have the committee vote next week on a resolution to hold Blinken in contempt of Congress. He would then have taken a full vote in the House, where Republicans hold a narrow majority.

The State Department had previously informed McCaul of the substance of the cables, but he said he was not satisfied.

The vast majority of the 123 cables sent since 1971, when the dissident channel was established during the Vietnam War, have remained classified, according to the George Washington University National Security Archive. The State Department has long protected the cables from public release.

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