EXCLUSIVE: Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., is slamming the Afghanistan dissent cable that Secretary of State Antony Blinken allowed congressional access to Tuesday as "embarrassing" and said it debunks the Biden administration's narrative that it was caught off guard by the country's swift collapse in 2021.
Issa, who serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told Fox News Digital that he was the first committee member to view the dissent channel cable from the U.S. Embassy in Kabul and Washington's response.
The State Department’s "dissent channel" allows for contrary views to be expressed by officials. The document, signed by 23 staffers and diplomats, warned about the possibility of a rapid Taliban advance as the U.S. left the country, which President Biden and other top officials downplayed at the time.
"What we saw was their prediction, with great accuracy, of exactly what was going to happen and what the outcome would be if they did not change their directions," the congressman said. "We saw a response from the office of the State Department saying, ‘We hear you, and we agree, basically, we don't take it lightly.’ And then, obviously, we know what they did and didn't do, which was totally insufficient for the warning that was given."
"They redacted the specific names, but we now know that many of them were senior executive surrogates, meaning people that are paid at the highest level in the State Department," he continued. "They knew and understood that there was no way that the Afghan military was going to defend successfully. They did not disagree with that, and as a result, they knew that Kabul would fall within weeks, that the Taliban would do what they have done, which is to continue to kill and persecute individuals, and they allowed it to happen."
Issa said the cable also revealed that "there was no expectation by the State Department that there would be sustainability" in the region and knew that the billions of dollars of U.S. military equipment that was left behind was going to fall into the Taliban's hands.
Issa said the cable went out on July 13, 2021, the response came back a week later on July 20, and Kabul officially fell weeks later on Aug. 15.
"Every prediction came through, including the quick collapse of the Afghan army," he said.
Issa said his next course of action is trying to get the document declassified so that the families of the 13 U.S. service members who were killed during the chaotic withdrawal can get to the bottom of what happened.
"Redacting only a portion of a portion of a sentence takes this from a secret document to a confidential document, and confidential, quite frankly, in this case is even inappropriate," he said.
"This is classified because it's embarrassing," he added. "There’s absolutely no reason the American people shouldn't see it, and I will not rest until they do."
"The bottom line is nothing ends here," added Issa's communications director, Jonathan Wilcox.
"This obliterates the administration's big lie on Afghanistan – that this could not have been foretold, nobody could have seen this coming, nothing could have done to prevent it," he said.
"We know it was received. We know it wasn't followed," he continued. "Their personnel on the ground saw this, reported it, warned them, and were ignored."
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul announced Monday that he had secured an agreement with Secretary Blinken that would allow all members of the committee a reasonable opportunity to view the cable.
In response, Chairman McCaul agreed it would be a satisfactory accommodation to his earlier subpoena and would take contempt off the table. This is the first time in U.S. history that a dissent channel cable has been provided to Congress.
"This is an unprecedented step forward in our committee’s investigation into the Afghanistan withdrawal," McCaul said Monday. "For the first time in history, the State Department has agreed to allow Congress to view a dissent channel cable. This cable contains first-hand information from Embassy Kabul employees who were on the ground prior to the collapse as well as Secretary Blinken’s response to their concerns. I want to thank Secretary Blinken for negotiating with me in good faith on this."
McCaul had subpoenaed the document multiple times in the early months of this year, but Blinken had failed to provide it, prompting McCaul to threaten to charge Blinken with contempt of Congress.
Biden’s decision to pull troops from Afghanistan faced widespread global backlash after Taliban insurgents retook the country in a matter of days on Aug. 15, 2021, essentially winning the war 20 years after their ouster by U.S.-led forces. Just a month earlier, Biden told Americans that the likelihood of a Taliban takeover was "highly unlikely."
On Aug. 18, 2021, three days after the Taliban seized the capital of Kabul and forced the U.S. Embassy there to evacuate, Biden told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that intelligence did not indicate the Afghan government would quickly collapse – despite reports stating that is exactly what the intelligence predicted. The president also falsely claimed that "no one's being killed" in Afghanistan despite reports at that time of at least seven deaths amid the chaos at Kabul's airport.
Then on Aug. 26, 2021, during the U.S. military's mass evacuation at the Kabul airport, suicide bombers killed 183 people, including 13 U.S. service members. The U.S. retaliated by launching two drone strikes against suspected ISIS-K terrorists, one of which ended up killing 10 Afghan civilians, including seven children.
Critics immediately demanded that heads roll for the Afghanistan debacle, with calls for the firings of Blinken, national security adviser Jake Sullivan, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, but no one was fired.
Despite telling Americans after Afghanistan’s fall that "the buck stops with me," Biden repeatedly blamed former President Trump and the Afghan military for the country’s swift collapse. While Biden admitted that the Taliban’s takeover had caught the U.S. off guard, he has insisted he made the right decision in ending the war and has declined to fire a single official over the pullout.
However, critics have often compared the withdrawal to the fall of Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War and have said Biden’s foreign policy blunders have given the green light to authoritarian leaders to act aggressively across the globe.
For instance, two months after the Afghanistan withdrawal, Russian President Vladimir Putin renewed a major buildup of troops near the Ukrainian border in October 2021, which eventually led to its invasion of the country that continues today.
The State Department did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital's request for comment.
Fox News’ Pete Kasperowicz and Anders Hagstrom contributed to this report.