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Rubio Joins Thune, Risch, Colleagues in Effort to Release Afghanistan Dissent Cable

Feb 17, 2022 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), John Thune (R-SD), and Jim Risch (R-ID) introduced a bill to require the U.S. Department of State 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 capture Kabul. The bill would also require the State Department to provide Congress with a classified version of the dissent cable, removing any personally identifiable information of the senders.
 
Rubio is Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and a senior member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. 
 
Rubio, Thune, and Risch were joined in cosponsoring the bill by Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Mike Braun (R-IN), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Steve Daines (R-MT), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), John Hoeven (R-ND), Tim Scott (R-SC), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), and Roger Wicker (R-MS). 
 
Background: 
The July 13th dissent cable reportedly warned the Biden Administration of the mounting deterioration of Afghanistan’s security and the need to immediately begin evacuations. Regrettably, it was apparently met with inaction. The National Security Council Deputies Committee delayed its first meeting to discuss evacuating Afghanistan for a full month after receiving the dissent cable. In a September 14, 2022 hearing before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Rubio criticized U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the Biden Administration for ignoring intelligence reports, including the dissent cable, predicting the rapid collapse of the Afghan government.
 
According to the State Department, the dissent channel “is a serious policy channel reserved only for consideration of responsible dissenting and alternative views on substantive foreign policy issues that cannot be communicated in a full and timely manner through regular operating channels or procedures,” which underscores the urgent nature of the warnings sent by U.S. diplomats. The State Department cable addressed by this legislation was first reported on August 19, 2021.