Hagerty Obtains Inspector General Nominee’s Commitment to Independence and Transparency in Investigation of Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley

November 16, 2023

WASHINGTON—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today in a hearing obtained a commitment from Cardell Richardson Sr., nominee to be the State Department’s Inspector General to proceed, if confirmed, “independently, expeditiously, and with appropriate transparency” as the Department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) investigates conduct related to the suspension of Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley’s security clearance. On July 13, 2023, Hagerty led a group of 18 senators in sending a letter requesting the OIG to investigate whether State Department officials complied with all appropriate laws and regulations when they suspended Special Envoy Malley’s access to classified information.

“Will you commit to this Committee that if confirmed, you’ll ensure that the Office of the Inspector General’s ongoing investigation into the State Department’s actions related to Malley’s security clearance proceeds independently, expeditiously, and with appropriate transparency?” Hagerty asked.

Nominee Richardson gave his “unequivocal assurance” to Hagerty that he will do so.

In a shocking development on August 27, 2023, the Tehran Times—a propaganda arm of Iran’s terror-sponsoring regime—published the April 2023 “sensitive but unclassified” (SBU) memo that informed Special Envoy Malley that his clearance and access to classified information had been suspended.  State Department regulations require officials to engage in strict and careful practices to ensure that SBU information is never publicly revealed.

As journalist Eli Lake recently reported in Commentary: “Two government officials tell me that Malley was picked up on an intercept revealing something he was not supposed to reveal in a private conversation with a foreign official.”

In response to the State Department’s lack of transparency with Congress on the circumstances surrounding the suspension of Special Envoy Malley’s security clearance, Hagerty earlier this month introduced legislation to require the Secretary of State to notify Congress when the security clearances of senior members of the State Department are suspended or revoked.

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