Leading figures in the GOP, including Senate members and Rep. Michael McCaul, the influential Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, are spearheading an effort to gain clarity on accusations about the inappropriate handling of classified information by Robert Malley, the Biden administration’s Iran envoy.
Malley, who serves as Biden’s special representative for Iran, has seen his security clearance removed and has been placed on a leave of absence without pay pending an inquiry’s outcome.
In the previous week, McCaul sent a comprehensive request for details to Secretary of State Antony Blinken. He expressed “profound concerns” about Malley’s actions and the potential misleading of Congress and the American people by the State Department.
According to McCaul, the Department has failed to respond to the Committee’s multiple requests for Malley’s testimony since April 11, 2023. This is despite Malley’s frequent media appearances starting from May 30, 2023.
McCaul argues that the Department never communicated that Malley’s security clearance was being reviewed or that he was under possible investigation for misconduct.
A State Department spokesperson declined to comment on McCaul’s letter when asked by Fox News Digital. They did, however, confirm that while Malley is on leave, Abram Paley is serving as the acting Special Envoy for Iran.
Malley, while confirming his clearance review, said he was hopeful about the investigation’s outcome.
In a Twitter thread, Sen. Bill Hagerty from Tennessee raised questions about Malley’s alleged misbehavior and when Biden and Blinken first learned of the allegations. He also expressed concern about Malley’s historical connections with extremist groups like Hamas and questioned the wisdom of his selection for such a sensitive role.
Moreover, last month, Hagerty and more than 30 other senators put forth a bill demanding a congressional vote on easing sanctions on Iran.
The current situation could serve as a pivotal moment if Congress exercises its authority in a bipartisan manner, as suggested by former Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman and Ambassador Mark D. Wallace from United Against Nuclear Iran.
Malley is accused of offering significant concessions to Iran’s regime as part of a proposed nuclear pact. The proposed agreement could see Iran receive as much as $17 billion in sanctions relief in exchange for temporary restrictions on its nuclear weapons program.
Despite the Biden administration’s denial of reaching an interim agreement with Tehran, Fox News Digital reported that secret negotiations are still ongoing.
John Bolton, a former U.S. national security adviser, commented on Malley’s situation at a conference in Paris, stating that he couldn’t recall a similar situation involving a senior U.S. diplomatic official.
Increasing criticism towards Malley could fuel a campaign by Iranian American human rights activist, Masih Alinejad, which aims to pressure the U.S. State Department to remove Malley from his role.
The U.S.-based National Union for Democracy in Iran stated that it has been opposing Malley’s appointment from the start, and it now hopes that a legal investigation will finally prompt action, should any unjustifiable conduct be proven.