State Dept brief on Afghanistan withdrawal dissent cable an ‘insult’ to dead servicemembers, congressman says

FIRST ON FOX – Some House Foreign Affairs Committee members appeared grossly dissatisfied with a briefing on the State Department’s Afghanistan dissent cable, with one representative going so far as to call it “insulting” to the fallen or forgotten Americans in Kabul.  

“Today’s briefing by the State Department wasn’t only insufficient and incomplete, it was an insult to the fallen in Afghanistan and every American who was abandoned there by Joe Biden,” Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., told Fox News Digital in exclusive comments. 

“What we read today puts the lie to everything Joe Biden has said,” he added, stressing that the Biden Administration “has never told the truth about what they knew and when they knew it.”

The dissent cable is a notice signed by some 23 staffers and diplomats at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul and sent out in July 13, 2021 using the special “dissent channel,” which allows department officials to issue warnings or express contrarian views to senior officials. 


The House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) has repeatedly asked the State Department for access to the communication, which warned that the Taliban had made rapid territorial gains and urged the officials to commence an airlift operation immediately for Afghans who helped the U.S., The Wall Street Journal first reported

The notice also called for tougher language to describe atrocities committed by the Taliban, according to one source with knowledge of the cable. The document also predicted with “eerie foresight” what would happen only a month later, another source said. 

Darrell Issa California

Representative Darrell Issa, a Republican from California, speaks during a hearing in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, March 10, 2021. The Biden administration is considering withdrawing all troops from Afghanistan by May 1 as it leans on President Ashraf Ghani to accelerate peace talks with the Taliban, including by supporting a proposal for six-nation discussions that include Iran. (Ting Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The withdrawal, which occurred against the chaos of the Taliban pressing on Kabul as the U.S. rushed to pull out its last troops and American citizens in the country, included the deaths of 13 U.S. servicemembers and 170 Afghan civilians during a bombing at the airport. 

The administration also left hundreds of Americans behind despite promises that troops would remain until “all” Americans had left safely. 


The HFAC has made an incredible and unprecedented effort to bring this classified document to light and examine it, but it has met expected and tremendous pushback from the administration. HFAC Chairman Rep. Mike McCaul, R-Texas, eventually issued a subpoena last month to force U.S. State Secretary Antony Blinken to testify before the committee. 

Kabul military drawdown

In this image from video provided by Omar Haidari taken on Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, shows a baby being lifted across a wall at Kabul Airport in Afghanistan by U.S. soldiers. The image grabbed from footage, taken on Thursday, showed the infant being pushed up to the soldiers by people in the crowd gathered outside the airport, amid the chaos of those fleeing the Taliban takeover of the country. (Omar Haidari via AP)

“We have made multiple good faith attempts to find common ground so we could see this critical piece of information,” McCaul said in a statement. “Unfortunately, Secretary Blinken has refused to provide the Dissent Cable and his response to the cable, forcing me to issue my first subpoena as chairman of this committee.”

U.S. Marines provide assistance at an Evacuation Control Checkpoint during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 21. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Victor Mancilla)

The department claimed and assured the committee it was doing everything it could to turn over “all the information that this committee is looking for,” but the eventual concession, which allowed a briefing on the document, proved outright dissatisfactory for some members. 

Kabul Airport withdrawal

In this Aug. 21, 2021, image provided by the U.S. Air Force, U.S. service members guide evacuees aboard a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III in support of the Afghanistan evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. (Senior Airman Brennen Lege/U.S. Air Force via AP)

“The Biden administration has never told the truth about what they knew and when they knew it, and now we know why,” Issa said. “They hesitated when they should have acted, panicked when they should have remained calm, and covered up their historic dereliction of duty.” 


“This administration has stonewalled the Congress and hidden the truth from the American people. That ends now,” he added. 

Ambassador James F. Jeffrey, previously the U.S. ambassador to Turkey and Iraq during the Obama administration and special representative for Syria engagement during the Trump administration, earlier this month urged the State Department to provide the cable to congress for review. 

13 Marines killed in Kabul airport terror attack arrive in Dover Air Base, Biden is present

The 13 U.S. Marines killed in Kabul airport terror attack arrive at Dover Air Base. (Jason Minto/U.S. Air Force via Getty Images | REUTERS/Tom Brenner)

“The issues here are too important — and the Biden administration has signaled it is unlikely to voluntarily provide full disclosure — to inhibit a full airing of what went wrong, if only to preclude doing the same thing again,” Jeffrey wrote in a post for Just Security.


“Furthermore, I believe release of the dissent cable, as an exception, and with appropriate redaction, would encourage, not inhibit, this important State Department accountability process,” he added. 

While The State Department did not respond to a Fox News Digital request for comment by time of publication, Fox has since learned that State’s summary was limited to a single page.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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