Army vet GOP rep blasts Biden administration for limiting access to Afghanistan dissent cable
Rep. Cory Mills is demanding that the State Department allow all members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee to view a dissent cable that could shed light on the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan.
“If there’s nothing in there that’s concerning with regards to the botched Afghanistan withdrawal, then why wouldn’t you make that readily available to each member of Congress within the Foreign Affairs Committee,” Mills, R-Fla., told Fox News Digital Wednesday. “There’s something that doesn’t seem right.”
Mills’ comments come as controversy over access to dissent cables that were sent to the State Department from Kabul continues to grow, with GOP members of the committee demanding that all members be allowed to view what they argue could shed light on what went wrong in the final days of America’s war in Afghanistan.
The dissent cable, which was sent in July 2021 and reported on by the Wall Street Journal a month later, reportedly warned top State Department officials of the possibility that Kabul would fall to the Taliban as U.S.troops left the country. The cable was sent via a dissent channel, which allows State Department officials the opportunity to express concerns to leadership.
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The State Department has for months sought to limit access to the classified cable, only providing a brief summary of its contents to members of the committee investigating what went wrong with the withdrawal. But GOP members have sought even greater transparency, demanding that the full contents of the cable be made available for review.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, and ranking member Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y. were granted an opportunity to view the full contents of the cable on Tuesday, but only after McCaul signed off on a subpoena that was delivered to Secretary of State Antony Blinken in March.
In exchange for viewing the cable, McCaul agreed to pause the subpoena, but said afterward that he will discuss the next course of action with members of the committee if the State Department does not allow access to all 51 members.
“I am thankful to Secretary Blinken for allowing myself and ranking member Meeks to view the dissent channel cable – an unprecedented occurrence,” McCaul said in a statement Tuesday. “However, every member on our committee should be granted this same access. Although I cannot discuss the classified information in the cable, I can say the dissenters were right – and the administration should have listened.”
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Meeks said in a statement that the summary provided to members accurately reflected the contents of the full cable.
But Mills, an Army veteran who traveled to Afghanistan in the waning days of the conflict to help evacuate Americans on the ground, told Fox News Digital that he is “not satisfied,” arguing the “entire committee” should gain access to the cables to ensure the “transparency that is necessary for the American people” and to “guarantee accountability” if there was “wrongdoing by members of our own government.”
Mills pointed out that the cable was signed by 23 State Department officials who balked at the notion that the Afghan Army could hold the country long enough to withdraw every American and Afghan ally from the country, instead warning that Kabul would fall and American lives would be in danger.
Reached for comment by Fox News Digital, a State Department spokesperson referred to comments made by department spokesperson Matthew Miller at a Wednesday press briefing, where Miller argued that the access granted to lawmakers already has been “an extraordinary accommodation.”
“As I said yesterday, to provide them with access to this dissent cable, something that the State Department has never before done,” Miller said. “We do believe it’s important that we continue to protect this channel, which State Department employees use to provide candid feedback to our leaders. But we will continue to work with the committee and hope to, as I said yesterday, reach an ultimate resolution.”
According to Mills, the full cable is five pages long, but the summary was only a single page in length.
Gaining access to the full cable is vital, Mills argued, especially after 13 members of the U.S. military lost their lives attempting to facilitate the evacuation.
“Thirteen brave heroes lost their lives, and 13 new Gold Star families deserve to know what actually took place that could have either prevented the loss of life or the reasoning for the loss of life,” Mills said. “The American people demand transparency out of our government… getting these cables to have the full picture of what the State Department, the Department of Defense, and the Biden administration knew prior to executing this botched withdrawal that cost American lives.”