Malley Looks More Like a Mole Than Misunderstood
The Biden administration’s Iran envoy is under investigation by the FBI over mishandling state secrets – what comes next?
Last week, this newsletter revealed the dark cloud of possible espionage that has settled over Rob Malley, the Biden White House’s Iran point person, as well as one of the Democrats’ top Middle East experts. Long a controversial figure in Washington foreign policy circles, the high-flying Malley is now in potentially serious trouble, career-wise and perhaps even legally. His security clearances have been suspended and he has been removed from his top White House position – where, unofficially, his main job was reviving the Iran Deal which Obama delivered and Trump smothered – over his mishandling of classified information.
That catch-all term can mean anything from leaving secrets on your desk overnight, instead of locking them up in a safe (which is a security violation, i.e., an administrative matter not a crime), to outright espionage for a foreign power (which can get you sent to the slammer), with a wide range of possibilities in between. Regardless, without security clearances, senior U.S. Government officials can’t do their jobs, so after a few months of investigation, Malley recently found himself suspended from the administration pending a State Department adjudication of the alleged classified mishandling. Significantly, Malley was placed on unpaid leave as Diplomatic Security investigated what he had done, which is unusual in such cases.
That detail implied that Malley was in hotter water than many assumed. Since he was placed on unpaid rather than paid administrative leave, we weren’t dealing with merely mishandling classified, but we didn’t know much. Now we do.
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