Latest News 09-05-2024 00:13 7 Views

Biden’s Iran envoy kept classified material on personal email, cellphone that was hacked: GOP lawmakers

Republican lawmakers revealed 'troubling allegations' against President Biden’s embattled special envoy to Iran, Robert Malley, who is said to have stored classified material on a personal email account and cellphone that were later accessed by a 'hostile cyber actor.'

The top Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations and House Foreign Affairs committees sent a letter to the State Department on Monday requesting confirmation of their findings against Malley, who was placed on unpaid leave last June and had his security clearance suspended amid a State Department investigation for allegedly mishandling classified documents.

The letter, which was obtained by Fox News Digital, was addressed to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and included a handful of allegations against Malley that stemmed from an investigation launched by Senate Foreign Relations Committee ranking member James Risch, R-Idaho, and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Michael McCaul, R-Texas. 

'We remain deeply frustrated by the Department's lack of responsiveness to our requests for information needed to conduct appropriate oversight,' the lawmakers told Blinken in the letter, which was first reported by the Washington Post. 'Due to the Department’s evasiveness and lack of transparency, we have worked to glean information from other sources. Our own investigations have uncovered the following information and troubling allegations. We ask that you confirm the information we have learned.'

The two Republican lawmakers added, 'Specifically, we understand that Mr. Malley’s security clearance was suspended because he allegedly transferred classified documents to his personal email account and downloaded these documents to his personal cell phone. It is unclear to whom he intended to provide these documents, but it is believed that a hostile cyber actor was able to gain access to his email and/or phone and obtain the downloaded information.'

The GOP lawmakers also asked Blinken for additional information regarding the exact reasoning behind Malley's suspension, as well as the classification levels of the documents he stored on his personal devices and accounts that were said to have been hacked.

Among the many questions, the Republicans asked Blinken was whether Malley sent classified material to individuals who lacked security clearances and whether the alleged cyber actor was affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRCG), the Iranian military, or intelligence services.

The lawmakers also requested information on how Malley's personal email and/or cellphone were hacked, as well as whether the Biden administration has plans to allow Malley to return to the State Department.

'The allegations we have been privy to are extremely troubling and demand immediate answers,' the lawmakers concluded in their letter to Blinken. 'These allegations have substantial impact on our national security and people should be held accountable swiftly and strongly.'

President Biden tapped Malley in January 2021 to try to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, under which Tehran agreed to limit its nuclear program to make it harder to obtain a nuclear weapon in return for economic sanctions relief. In 2018, President Trump opted to kill the deal and reimpose sanctions on Iran.

Malley stepped back from his State Department role shortly before Iran's release of five U.S. citizens to house arrest as part of a deal under which they would eventually leave Iran and $6 billion in Iranian funds in South Korea would be unfrozen.

Malley confirmed last June that his clearance was being investigated, but said he was confident of a positive outcome.

'I have been informed that my security clearance is under review. I have not been provided any further information, but I expect the investigation to be resolved favorably and soon. In the meantime, I am on leave,' Malley said to Fox News at the time. 

'While I am on leave from the State Department, I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to work with the next generation of public servants,' Malley said in the statement. 'I look forward to my time at Princeton and returning to government service in due course.'

A spokesperson for the State Department confirmed to the New York Post on Tuesday that Malley remains on leave and that the department has given Congress information on personnel inquiries related to Iran policy. The spokesperson did not, however, comment on the allegations revealed in the letter to Blinken from Risch and McCaul.


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