Since President Donald Trump notified Congress late on Friday of his plan to oust the State Department’s inspector general, news reports have indicated that the move was urged by Secretary Mike Pompeo, who is at the center of allegations the independent watchdog was investigating.
American Oversight has been investigating reports of misconduct that have dogged Pompeo since he first joined the administration, including the questionable role his wife has played at the agency as well as claims that he routinely misused State Department staff and resources for personal errands. On Monday, in light of reports that Pompeo pushed for Trump to fire Inspector General Steve Linick, who was looking into these and other matters, American Oversight has requested expedited processing of multiple requests for records that could shed a light on any potential misconduct.
In February, American Oversight sued the State Department and the CIA for records of complaints filed by employees regarding Pompeo, including related communications sent or received by Linick. Today’s requests for expedition are for three of the Freedom of Information Act requests included in that lawsuit.
Linick was also reportedly looking into the 2019 decision to issue an emergency declaration that allowed for the $8 billion sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates over Congress’s objections. American Oversight has filed a number of FOIA requests for records of any legal analyses of the use of the emergency declaration, and in September sued the State Department for failing to release communications sent by former official Charles Faulkner, who reportedly played a role in the arms deal and is a former lobbyist for weapons manufacturer Raytheon.
“This administration will go to extreme lengths to shield itself from scrutiny and accountability,” said Austin Evers, executive director of American Oversight. “Whether Secretary Pompeo is frightened of the results of an investigation, or if he’s just contemptful of checks against him, firing Inspector General Linick won’t keep the public from learning the truth. American Oversight has been investigating Pompeo’s potential misconduct, and we will make sure the facts come out.”
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