Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. Bob Menendez has had just about enough and has threatened to subpoena top Biden administration officials over the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
Menendez made a statement promising accountability. Menendez made it clear that he would subpoena Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and other Biden officials who declined to voluntarily appear before the panel.
"Mr. Secretary, the execution of the U.S. withdrawal was clearly and fatally flawed," Menendez told Blinken.
Menendez stated that multiple administrations "lied" about the stability of the Afghan government, then added that Austin's refusal to testify "will affect my personal judgment on Department of Defense nominees."
Menendez said, "We know now that the Taliban had no intention of pursuing a political path and peace deal with the Afghan government."
"The administration says that we should judge the Taliban by their actions, and I agree," Menendez said, "and their actions since taking over Afghanistan have been pretty horrifying - beating women activist, murdering ethnic and religious minorities such as the Hazara, separating classrooms by gender, shutting down local media, refusal to break with al-/Qaida, appointing the head of a foreign terrorist organization...to lead the ministry of interior, and the list goes on."
Blinken testified that the Biden administration started planning in the spring and summer for a "worst-case scenario" in Afghanistan, and preparation had been made for evacuating the U.S. Embassy in Kabul in 48 hours and for establishing control of the airport there.
Blinken refused to present the committee with a copy of a July 13 State Department dissent cable that warned of the immediate fall of the Afghan government after the U.S. withdrawal.
"Such messages are only to be shared with senior officials in the department," Blinken said.
Blinken said that the State Department is "still tabulating" the number of Special Immigrant Visa applicants that are still stranded in Afghanistan. He added the agency had increased resources this spring to reduce backlogs in the program.
Blinken had testified virtually for more than five hours on Monday before the House Armed Services Committee. Republican members of the committee called on him to resign after the disastrous withdrawal.
"We inherited a deadline. We did not inherit a plan" said Blinken, continually blaming former President Donald Trump for the epic fail.
Blinken insisted the evacuation effort was "extraordinary" despite the fact that about 100 U.S. citizens and an estimated "thousands" of green card holders are still stranded in Afghanistan.