Rob Malley, the U.S. Special Envoy for Iran, was placed on unpaid leave after his security clearance was suspended earlier this year amidst an investigation into potential mishandling of classified documents. This news has raised serious concerns about Malley’s conduct and whether the State Department misled Congress and the American public.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul has sent (June 30) a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken demanding additional details about the investigation and Malley’s dismissal. McCaul also requested that the department and administration make Acting Special Envoy for Iran Abram Paley and National Security Council Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa Brett McGurk available to testify in a public hearing and provide a classified briefing to the committee by the end of July.
In his letter, McCaul wrote, “The Department’s failure to inform Congress of this matter demonstrates at best a lack of candor, and at worst represents deliberate and potentially unlawful misinformation.” He added that “given the gravity of the situation, it is imperative that the Department expeditiously provide a full and transparent accounting of the circumstances surrounding Special Envoy Malley’s clearance suspension and investigation and the Department’s statements to Congress regarding Special Envoy Malley.”
On May 16, during a classified briefing on Iran delivered to senators by Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Malley’s deputy, Abram Paley, Malley’s absence was conspicuous among the Biden officials present.
The news of Malley’s departure swiftly prompted Republican lawmakers to express their concerns, emphasizing the need for congressional oversight regarding the administration’s endeavors to secure an agreement with Iran. In a tweet on Friday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) stated, “This situation with Malley makes it more important than ever for Congress to scrutinize & weigh in on the secret ‘deal’ he is putting together with Iran.” Similarly, Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) tweeted that ” As Malley leaves, Biden MUST reverse course” and that President Joe Biden should be held accountable for Malley and his overall Iran policy.”
Malley’s termination occurred during a delicate period when, as per media reports, the United States is pursuing a nuclear agreement with Iran known as “less for less.” Under this proposed agreement, Iran would limit its uranium enrichment activities, while the USA would reciprocate by easing sanctions and securing the release of certain detained American citizens in Iran.
Iran Dossier Concerns about Malley’s conduct