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Gabrielle M. Etzel, Healthcare Reporter


NextImg:House Republican demands answers from Blinken on Iran negotiator's suspension

House Foreign Affairs Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) demanded answers on Friday from Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the decision to place Iran Special Envoy Rob Malley on leave while reviewing his security clearance.

Malley was in charge of President Joe Biden's attempt to revive the Iran nuclear deal. Blinken's team verified on Thursday that his conduct is currently under review, including for possibly mishandling classified documents.

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"These reports raise serious concerns both regarding Malley's conduct and whether the State Department misled Congress and the American public," McCaul wrote in the letter to Blinken.

McCaul highlights in the letter that the news of Malley's suspension comes as the Committee has recently learned that the Biden administration held meetings with Iranian officials in May, "underscoring the importance of congressional oversight on Iran negotiations and policy, and for transparency and accountability on the part of the Department and the rest of the Biden Administration."

The Committee has been requesting testimony from Malley since April to conduct oversight, but the Department has refused these requests, saying that Malley has been on personal leave "due to the illness of a close family member, for which [McCaul's] staff expressed sympathy."

"At no point did the Department indicate that Special Envoy Malley’s security clearance was suspended or under review, or that he was being investigated for potential misconduct," said McCaul, who only learned of Malley's clearance-related suspension via news reports.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER

The Committee is requesting that, by July 11, the Department provide all information and communications regarding the allegations against and investigations into Malley's conduct for congressional review.

"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," wrote McCaul.