New details emerged on Monday about recently fired State Department Inspector General Steve Linick that undermine claims that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had him fired as an act of political retaliation.
News broke late on Friday night that Linick, an Obama appointee, had been fired from his role because President Donald Trump no longer had the fullest confidence in him.
Almost immediately, Democrat Rep. Eliot Engel (NY) said, “I have learned that the Office of the Inspector General had opened an investigation into Secretary Pompeo. Mr. Linick’s firing amid such a probe strongly suggests that this is an unlawful act of retaliation.” The supposed investigation was into whether Pompeo had instructed aides to do some personal tasks for him that were not related to official government work.
On Monday, Pompeo clarified the matter, saying that he did not know about the supposed investigation.
“I went to the president and made clear to him that Inspector General Linick wasn’t performing a function in a way that we had tried to get him to, that was additive for the State Department, very consistent with what the statute says he’s supposed to be doing,” Pompeo said. “The kinds of activities he’s supposed to undertake to make us better, to improve us.”
“I actually know how that works,” Pompeo continued. “I had an IG at the CIA, not the IG that I had chosen but an IG that was there before me. He did fantastic work. He made us better. Linick wasn’t that.”
The Washington Post highlighted in a report new alleged information on Linick that has surfaced that appears to be damaging:
Brian Bulatao, the State Department’s undersecretary for management, said concern over Linick had grown because of a “pattern of unauthorized disclosures, or leaks,” to the news media about investigations that were in an early draft form. He said that officials had no evidence Linick was personally responsible for the leaks but that the disclosures had the potential of tainting the outcome of ongoing probes. …
Bulatao said Linick had ignored the directions of then-deputy secretary of state John Sullivan to refer the leak investigation to the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency so that an inspector general from another agency could be appointed to look into it.
Bulatao said that the concern regarding the media leaks was raised last fall in a leak investigation and that “it certainly was a very strong finger-pointing at IG Linick’s way.”
Regarding the allegation that Linick was insubordinate and ignored orders to go through official channels regarding the leak investigation, Bulatao said, “Our understanding is he picked another fed agency on his own, to pick the person he wanted to grade his own homework, which sets up a whole apparent conflict of interest.”
The Daily Caller reported on Friday that Linick was “under investigation last year by the Department of Defense’s inspector general for mishandling sensitive material.”
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