A second inspector general appointed by President Obama is now out to get Hillary Clinton, according to her campaign’s communications director Brian Fallon.
“There are serious questions that need to be asked about the independence of [the office of the State Department inspector general],” Fallon complained during an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Thursday.
The flak was on the defense again after The Washington Post reported earlier in the day that the State Department watchdog, which is led by Steve Linick, subpoenaed the Clinton Foundation in the fall for records related to work which required approval by the State Department during Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state. (RELATED: Hillary Clinton Is Now Tied To Four Investigations By Federal Agencies)
Linick’s office also reportedly requested records related to Clinton aide Huma Abedin’s special employment status. Beginning in 2012, Clinton’s last full year in office, Abedin worked as Clinton’s deputy chief of staff at State while also working at the Clinton Foundation and Teneo Holdings, a consulting firm with deep ties to the Clintons.
Last month, Fallon accused the Intelligence Community’s inspector general, I. Charles McCullough III, also an Obama appointee, of coordinating with Republican Senators to leak reports that were damaging to Clinton. (RELATED: Hillary’s Campaign Accuses Intel IG Of Coordinating With GOP On Damning Email Reports)
Just as with McCullough’s investigation into Clinton’s emails, Fallon accepted no responsibility on Thursday on his boss’ behalf for Linick’s probe.
“It’s very hard, to be honest, for me personally to keep track of all the fishing expeditions that this IG office has conducted,” he said, pointing blame to two senior officials in the watchdog’s office who he claimed have a history of targeting Clinton.
Fallon pointed out that deputy inspector general Emilia DiSanto worked for eight years for Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, the Republican chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Grassley is conducting investigations of his own into Clinton’s private email server. And during the course of that investigation, he has received leaked information from DiSanto, Fallon asserted.
“Coincidentally, Senator Grassley seems to come upon possession of many of the details of the State Department IG’s reviews. And strangely, just coincidentally they end up leaking out,” Fallon said, adding that “people should draw their own conclusions from that.”
Fallon also said that the IG’s third-ranking official, David Seide, is biased against Clinton because he was an investigator on a case involving a top Clinton aide charged in an election finance fraud case.
“You have these individuals that have a history of targeting Hillary Clinton, and strangely we’ve seen a pattern of leaks emerging on eves of elections and debates,” Fallon said.
“They have mounted several different fishing expedition style investigations since she decided to run for president. There’s no basis to any of them, and I think that it’s intended to create headwinds for her campaign.”
Clinton is likely no accustomed to having a State Department inspector general breathing down her neck. When she served at the State Department, President Obama declined to appoint a permanent inspector general. Instead, Harold Geisel, a career State Department employee, served as interim IG from 2009 until 2013. During his toothless tenure, Clinton exclusively used her personal email account, allowing her to thwart Freedom of Information Act requests and opening classified information up to hackers.
The inspector general’s office did not respond to a request for comment by press time.