In April, the Biden administration quietly revoked the security clearance of Robert Malley, its special envoy to Iran. Meanwhile, the FBI has been investigating Malley, who is currently on unpaid leave, for allegedly mishandling classified information.
House Republicans are now preparing to subpoena the State Department for documents pertaining to the suspension of Malley, a situation that some observers say is among the worst scandals in department history. The main players, Malley and a previous advisor of his, are “compromised” and had no place running Washington’s Iran policy, former U.S. officials told the Daily Caller.
“I have no personal reason based on the evidence I have seen to believe that either these individuals are spies for the Iranian government. I think they are incredibly intellectually compromised. They were basically parroting Iranian propaganda outside the government and inside the government because they’ve been so intellectually compromised. That’s why they should have no business in the U.S. government,” a former U.S. official, who was granted anonymity in order to speak freely on the situation, told the Daily Caller.
Recently the suspicion around Malley and his quiet leave has risen; House Committee on Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer and Subcommittee on National Security, the Border and Foreign Affairs Chairman Glenn Grothman announced an investigation into Malley and Ariane Tabatabai, a former member of Malley’s Iran negotiating team, on Oct. 11. The investigation aims to examine the Biden administration’s hiring of officials, such as Malley and Tabatabai, who the committee says have “sympathetic ties to the Iranian regime.”
Ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Republican Sen. James Risch and Republican Texas Rep. Michael McCaul, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, requested information from the State Department on Oct. 11 about whether Malley was compromised by the Iran Experts Initiative, according to the Washington Free Beacon. Tehran’s foreign ministry runs the Iran Experts Initiative, a propaganda network which several of Malley’s aides were involved in, according to Semafor.
It was revealed by The Tehran Times in August, which obtained a memo from Erin Smart, director of the Office of Personnel Security and Suitability in the department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, that Malley was placed on leave because of “serious security concerns.”
And while the Iranian media reveals more details about Malley’s leave, the House Oversight Committee told Semafor that it believes the Biden administration has been blocking their efforts to figure out the reason the special envoy to Iran was removed from his post. The State Department refused to answer any questions about Malley’s quiet leave from the the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
Prior to the Biden administration, Malley was the lead negotiator for the U.S. on the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal, under former President Barack Obama.
As a part of the deal, Tehran received billions of dollars in sanctions relief in exchange for scaling back its nuclear program. The deal was terminated under former President Donald Trump who reinstated the sanctions and re-froze billions in Iranian assets. (RELATED: Kirby Brags That Obama’s Iran Deal Would Have Set Back Nuclear Program By ‘Months’)
Rob Malley, Biden’s Special Envoy to Iran, appointed Iranian operatives to key positions in the US government.
Democrats have yet to allow the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to hold a hearing about this. This is disgraceful. pic.twitter.com/qsWyZLEmYY
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) October 17, 2023
“Someone like this, in my personal view, shouldn’t have a security clearance because they don’t adequately represent the interests of United States,” the former official told the Daily Caller. “I’ve heard from a lot of people who have worked with him, including at the State Department, is that he doesn’t represent U.S. interests and he doesn’t do that as his job. He uses himself as an interlocutor or a mediator between the US and Iran. Rather than someone fighting for US interests.”
Tabatabai, who currently works as a senior official in the Defense Department’s special operations office, was allegedly a part of the Iran Experts Initiative, according to documents reviewed by Semafor. The Pentagon conducted an internal review into Tabatabai and decided Wednesday that she can keep her security clearance, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
“I don’t personally believe she is a spy. I think she has a complete profound lack of judgment, who has no business being a US government. I don’t believe she’s a spy. That is generally my same view of Malley,” the former U.S. official told the Daily Caller, noting that Tabatabai’s father was previously given an award by the Iranian President.
The rise in drama around Malley comes after the terrorist organization Hamas, which Iran has continuously supported, launched a surprise attack on Israel, brutally murdering more than 1,000 Israelis and taking others hostage.
Malley was fired from former President Barack Obama’s campaign in 2008 for reportedly being in talks with Hamas, according to the New York Times.
“It’s a mistake to only think of them in terms of their terrorist violence dimension,” Malley said in a 2008 interview about Hamas, according to the New York Post. “It has a charity organization, a social branch; it’s not something you can defeat militarily either and people need to understand that.”
Since Hamas’ attack on Israel, Iran’s involvement has been disputed. Various news outlets, such as the Wall Street Journal, have reported on suspected links between Iran and the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas, but the Biden administration continues to insist it doesn’t have evidence Iran played a key role in the planning or execution.
“[Director of National Intelligence] Avril Haines needs to answer a few urgent questions. She’s hiding,” Richard Grenell, former acting Director of National Intelligence, told the Daily Caller. “And I’m not sure why the D.C. media is afraid to call her out for hiding. She needs to answer the serious allegations as to how Rob Malley and his groupies got security clearances and who exactly approved them? She also needs to answer for Blinken’s accusations that the U.S. had no evidence of a Hamas attack. I frankly don’t believe it.”
Following the Hamas attack, the Biden administration came under fire for unfreezing $6 billion in assets for Iran just weeks prior in exchange for five U.S. prisoners. The administration refroze the funds after members of Congress called for officials to reverse their actions as war breaks out in the Middle East.
“All this stuff is evidence that they need completely new personnel on Iran who treat the problem seriously. But ultimately, in the end, a lot of these decisions that led to this terrible, terrible Iran policy were executed by Malley, but they were drafted and approved by President [Joe Biden] and by Secretary Blinken,” a former U.S. official told the Daily Caller.
“Malley presented these options and recommendations to the secretary to the President and they are making a call. It is unfair to put all the failure in policy on Malley,” the official continued.
The State Department offered no clarity when asked about Malley’s status. “Rob Malley remains on leave, and we have no further comment. The Department does not comment on individual security clearances,” a spokesperson said.