‘Extremely Troubling’: GOP Lawmakers Shed Light On Why Top Biden Admin Official Was Suspended

Two GOP lawmakers claimed Monday to have discovered the reason why Robert Malley, President Joe Biden’s special envoy for Iran, was suspended from his role.

Pending a federal investigation, Malley was suspended without pay and had his security clearance revoked in June 2023 with little reason given as to why. Republican Idaho Sen. James Risch and Texas Rep. Mike McCaul sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday saying that their “own investigations have uncovered” that Malley was put under investigation and on leave because “he allegedly transferred classified documents to his personal email account and downloaded these documents to his personal cell phone,” according to The Washington Post.

“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 lawmakers wrote.

McCaul and Risch asked Blinken in the letter to answer a series of questions about their findings, including how many classified documents Malley was handling, whether he attempted to send them to another party, whether a “malign cyber actor” — such as the Iranian regime — gained access to his phone, and whether he has received warnings from the State Department before about his handling of classified material.

“The allegations we have been privy to are extremely troubling and demand immediate answers,” McCaul and Risch wrote in the letter to Blinken. “These allegations have substantial impact on our national security and people should be held accountable swiftly and strongly. We look forward to your immediate response.”

Though he remains on unpaid leave, Malley has not been fired from his position. He has fallen under scrutiny for having kept allies and aides in his orbit who were discovered last year to be members of the Iranian Experts Initiative (IEI), an influence program that sought to recruit Western scholars and researchers to promote Iran’s reputation and goals on a global stage. One of the members of the IEI was a senior official at the Pentagon as of October 2023.

Malley was also previously the CEO of the  International Crisis Group (ICG), a global non-governmental organization, from 2018 to 2021, and had been associated with the organization for almost two decades. The ICG signed a “memorandum of understanding” with an Iranian-based think tank in 2016, but that relationship appeared to have never been disclosed to Congress.

“Under longstanding policy going back for decades, the Department does not comment on individual security clearances,” the State Department told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Nevertheless, the Department has provided Congress with relevant information on personnel inquiries relating to Iran policy. We have been and will continue to be in frequent contact with Congress on issues pertaining to Iran.”

Though Malley has yet to face legal consequences, others who have committed similar acts have been met with much more severe repercussions. Jack Teixeira, an Air National Guardsman, gained access to classified information and published it to the social media platform Discord in 2023; he was arrested later that year and took a plea agreement in March 2024 to serve 16 years in prison.

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