House committee chair Michael McCaul has expressed concern over an alleged US memo obtained by Iran’s government, while the State Department refuses to comment.

Tehran Times, an Iranian government newspaper August 27 published a US government memo purportedly sent to US Iran envoy Robert Malley informing him of his security access suspension.

US House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman McCaul issued a brief statement on Monday voicing deep concern that an alleged State Department memo has reached the Iranian government, while the US Congress knows very little about why Malley has been suspended without pay.

“If this memo is authentic, it is extremely concerning especially since this is not the first time the Iranian regime’s mouthpiece has appeared to have sensitive U.S. government information recently while Congress is kept in the dark,”McCaul said in his statement.

The State Department refused to comment on Monday when asked by Iran International. A spokesperson said, “We are aware of these reports,” but “The department does not comment on internal matters.” The Spokesperson added, “We have nothing further to share at this time due to privacy considerations.”

Iran International first reported June 29 that Malley had been absent for a considerable time, his security clearance was suspended, and he is under investigation related to his handling of classified documents. The Involvement of the Federal Bureau of Investigation was also reported, although until now no official details have been announced, except that Malley is on “unpaid leave.”

The document published by Tehran Times, purportedly from Erin Smart, Director of the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, Office of Personnel Security and Suitability, cites three reasons for Malley’s suspension: “Personal Conduct,” “Handling of Protected Information,” and “Use of Information Technology.” The memorandum further underscores that Malley’s “continued national security eligibility is not clearly consistent with the interests of national security.”

While Iran International has yet to independently verify the document’s authenticity, it has been informally corroborated by two congressional sources, who have described it as seemingly “authentic.” Politico also reported that a source “familiar with the investigation into Malley who has seen the original memo…that the Tehran Times’ version appeared to match that original.”

The Biden administration’s refusal to provide more information to Congress even in a confidential briefing, arguing that privacy considerations are a hindrance, has led McCaul to threaten a subpoena.

“I have requested transparency from the State Department on the ongoing Robert Malley saga and will continue to demand answers,” the Chairman said in his statement.

He concluded by suggesting that there could be a security breach at the State Department. “This latest chapter raises serious questions about how the regime obtained this potentially authentic document and what other sensitive or classified information they may have. The State Department needs to do a top to bottom security review, because I am concerned they have a leak.”

Other Republicans, who were already angry about the Biden administration agreeing to release $9 billion of Iran’s funds from South Korea and Iraq, also started to weigh in.

“It is shocking and, to my knowledge, unprecedented that a propaganda arm of Iran’s terrorist regime got its hands on what appears to be a ‘Sensitive But Unclassified’ April 2023 memo related to the suspension of Special Envoy Rob Malley’s security clearance,” Sen. Bill Hagerty, member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said in a statement.He asked for the State Department Inspector General to investigate how the Tehran Times obtained the Malley memo.

Source » iranintl