Biden’s special envoy to Iran had his security clearance suspended for ‘personal conduct’ and mishandling of ‘protected’ information: leaked memo

President Biden’s special envoy for Iran had his security clearance suspended earlier this year after “serious” questions were raised internally about his handling of “protected material,” according to a leaked State Department memo released during the weekend by an Iranian media outlet.

Robert Malley was placed on unpaid leave beginning in late June, but the State Department declined to specify why, drawing scrutiny from Republicans in Congress.

The Tehran Times, an English-language daily believed to have close ties to the theocracy’s Foreign Ministry, sought to shed light on the matter on Sunday by publishing an April 21 memo titled “sensitive but unclassified” and addressed to Malley by Erin Smart, director. of the Office of Security and Suitability of Personnel in the Office of Diplomatic Security of the Department.

In the memo, Smart wrote that the office “has received information about you that raises serious security concerns and may be disqualifying under National Security Adjudicative Guidelines E (Personal Conduct), K (Handling Protected Information), and M (Use of information technology). “

The Tehran Times – an Iranian state media outlet – has published a “sensitive but unclassified” memo addressed to Iran’s envoy Rob Malley, explaining why his authorization was suspended.

The letter seems authentic to me. It indicates that Malley also lied about not knowing why his authorization was withdrawn.

—Gabriel Noronha (@GLNoronha) August 27, 2023

Robert Malley was one of President Biden’s key people in his deal with Iran.AP

The memo did not disclose Malley’s specific conduct and stressed that his authorization was only being suspended, not revoked.

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The Post has not independently confirmed the authenticity of the memo.

“We are aware of these reports,” a State Department spokesperson told the Post on Monday night. “The Department does not comment on internal matters. Rob Malley remains on leave. We have nothing more to share at this time due to privacy considerations.”

Robert MalleyPrinceton was eager for Robert Malley to join the institution.AP

However, Gabriel Noronha, a former State Department adviser on Iran, tweeted Sunday night that the released document “seems authentic to me.” [and] [i]It indicates that Malley also lied when he said he did not know why his authorization was withdrawn. “

“The Tehran Times knows more about Rob Malley than the New York Times,” added Richard Goldberg, senior adviser to the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “This is crazy.”

Malley has previously been accused by Republicans of being too welcoming to certain factions in Tehran.

president bidenThe Biden administration has not been forthcoming about what specific allegations led to the suspension of Robert Malley’s security clearance.AP

Earlier this year, when Malley publicly confirmed the ongoing investigation into his security clearance, he insisted that State Department officials provided him with no further information.

“I have been informed that my security clearance is under review,” he said at the time. “They have not provided me with more information, but I hope that the investigation is resolved favorably and soon. In the meantime, I’m on leave.”

Earlier this month, Malley landed a job at Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) as a visiting professor and lecturer.

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Robert MalleyRobert Malley was one of the architects of the Iran nuclear deal. AFP via Getty Images
Robert MalleyRobert Malley was widely considered one of the leading voices on Middle East politics. Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Malley helped spearhead the US negotiations with Iran and previously served as lead negotiator for the controversial 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal.

That deal gave Tehran sanctions relief in exchange for temporary curbs on its nuclear program. Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the agreement in 2018 and reimposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic

Biden has tried to revive parts of that deal while also negotiating a potential prisoner swap with Iran.

“If this memo is authentic, it is extremely troubling, especially since it is not the first time that the Iranian regime’s spokesman has appeared to have sensitive information from the US government recently while Congress is kept in the dark,” said the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee. of the House of Representatives, Michael McCaul (R). -Texas) told The Post in a statement.

McCaul implored the State Department to conduct a “top-to-bottom security review because I am concerned that there is a leak.”

“I have requested transparency from the State Department about the ongoing Robert Malley saga and will continue to demand answers,” he added. “Regarding this last chapter, I am very concerned about how the regime obtained this potentially authentic document and what other confidential or classified information it may have.”

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