September 26, 2023

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Final Say

TEHRAN – In Last July, the Tehran Times exclusively reported that former U.S. envoy for Iran Rob Malley got his security clearance suspended on April 21. The Tehran Times now can reveal that Malley breached three U.S. national security rules. 

Despite all the kerfuffle over his dismissal, Malley’s episode is one of ambiguity and equivocality, with only a few people in the know about its full dimensions. This has greatly enraged many on the Capitol Hill and prompted them to demand clear answers from the Biden administration regarding the suspension of Malley’s security clearance. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken demanding answers on Malley. 

“Media reports indicate that Special Envoy for Iran, Robert Malley, was placed on unpaid leave after his security clearance was suspended earlier this year amidst an investigation into potential mishandling of classified documents,” the chairman wrote. “These reports raise serious concerns both regarding Malley’s conduct and whether the State Department misled Congress and the American public.”

McCaul also lashed out at the State Department for failing to inform Congress of the full details on Malley’s case. 

Despite pressing demands from Congress, the Biden administration remained tight-lipped about Malley.  

This is while the story of Malley is full of details showing that he endangered U.S. national security, according to a Memorandum obtained by the Tehran Times. 

On April 21, Malley received a Memorandum from Erin Smart, the director of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, Office of Personnel Security and Suitability, informing him of the reasons why his security clearance was withdrawn. 

In this letter, Smart determined that Malley’s “continued national security eligibility is not clearly consistent with the interests of national security,” according to the document seen by the Tehran Times. 

The Memorandum enumerates three reasons for the suspension of Malley’s security clearance that includes actions that have to do with personal conduct, handling of protected information, and use of information technology.

Final Say

“The DS Office of Personnel Security (DS/SI/PSS) has received information regarding you that raises serious security concerns and can be disqualifying under National Security Adjudicative Guidelines E (Personal Conduct), K (Handling of Protected Information), and M (Use of Information Technology),” Smart tersely told Malley. 

After explaining the next steps, Smart then asks Malley to turn in his building ID card, any government-issued credentials, and his diplomatic passport. 

Final Say

The full details of the suspension of Malley’s security clearance are not previously reported. 

The Memorandum does not mention examples of how Malley’s personal conduct endangered U.S. national security or how he mishandled protected information. But the Tehran Times previously reported that Malley’s suspicious contact with his aides of Iranian descent has contributed to his downfall. 

Malley had extensive contact with a web of Iranian-American figures, ranging from Ali Vaez and Vali Nasr to Trita Parsi, before assuming office. And his son is still working with Parsi at the Quincy Institute.

During his tenure as Iran envoy, Malley has been in close contact with at least Vaez, according to a previous report by the Tehran Times. 

Earlier this month, the Tehran Times revealed a secret document outlining behind-the-scenes efforts by Malley and Vaez to stage what can be called a diplomatic coup in Iran during the 2022 Mahsa Amini unrest. 

According to this document, Vaez prepared a list of 14 Iranian figures as part of a broader effort by the State Department to turn up the heat on Iran. The list included many opposition figures along with lesser-known individuals. 

The majority of those on the list are not known to the public. Some of them expressed awe after the publication of their names in the Tehran Times, indicating that Vaez had either included their names without their knowledge or they didn’t expect Vaez would spill the beans.

The exposition of the list could well be an example of Malley’s improper personal conduct or mishandling of protected information. Of course, this remains a speculation given that the Memorandum is cagy about the examples of Malley’s infractions.

By Sadegh Fereydounabadi 

Original News : https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/488429/Final-Say

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