Hoeven Calls on State Department to Release Cable Warning of Afghanistan Collapse

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven joined Senators John Thune (R-S.D.) and Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in urging the U.S. State Department to release a public, unclassified version of the July 13, 2021, internal dissent channel cable that reportedly warned of the rapidly deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan and the Taliban’s ability to quickly capture Kabul. Regrettably, the report was apparently met with inaction, evidenced by the National Security Council Deputies Committee’s decision to delay its first meeting to discuss evacuating Afghanistan until a full month after the dissent cable was sent.

 “Reports that the administration ignored warnings of the crisis to unfold in Afghanistan are unacceptable,” said Hoeven. “As additional evidence is uncovered that the Biden administration cost American lives through the reckless withdrawal of U.S. forces, we will continue demanding answers on the collapse.”

 “Transparency is an inherent component of accountability, and the American people deserve to have an unvarnished look into the decision-making process – and the warnings that went ignored – in the lead-up to the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan,” said Thune. “Recent reports, including the Army’s investigation into the terrorist attack that claimed the lives of 13 servicemembers during the chaotic evacuation of Kabul, has confirmed the crisis of leadership that Americans saw unfold nearly in real time. I thank Sen. Risch, who has led the effort to hold the Biden administration accountable on this issue, for partnering with me on this bill so we can shed some light on this horrific and botched withdrawal.”

 “There is a growing body of evidence that this administration dismissed dire reports from diplomats and military officers on the ground in Afghanistan that predicted a rapid Taliban advance and the need to drastically accelerate evacuation efforts,” said Risch. “Despite repeated requests, the State Department has refused to provide the Senate Foreign Relations Committee with a copy of the July 13 dissent cable and a description of changes the secretary made as a result. The administration’s haphazard exit from Afghanistan has tarnished American credibility, cost American lives, and has set back American efforts to ensure Afghanistan never again serves as a platform for attacks against the United States. The American people deserve transparency.”

In addition to Hoeven, Thune and Risch, the legislation is cosponsored by Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).

Click here for the full text of the bill.