Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley suddenly had his security clearance revoked earlier this year, supposedly over his handling of classified materials. Two months later, there has been no answer as to why. Representatives Brian Mast (R-FL) and Michael McCaul (R-TX) have written a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken demanding the reason for Malley's removal.
According to Rep. Mast's letter, Blinken knew about Malley's suspension months before Congress did, and the concerns of Malley's handling of classified materials came at a time when he had taken work to speak at Princeton and become a senior fellow at Yale's School of Global Affairs.
A closed briefing with the Under Secretary for Management John Bass and Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security Gentry Smith in late July seemed to produce more questions than answers, as the pair said they would take into consideration a Congressional request for regular updates on Malley's situation, which has not come to pass.
"We are sure you understand why we are not satisfied by that response," wrote Rep. Mast.
On X (formerly known as Twitter), Mast called the lack of transparency on Malley's removal "incredibly alarming."
"The fact that a high-ranking official who was engaged in foreign relations with a country like Iran had his security clearance suspended is incredibly alarming. We need answers from Blinken about Special Envoy to Iran Robert Malley’s situation," Mast tweeted.
The fact that a high-ranking official who was engaged in foreign relations with a country like Iran had his security clearance suspended is incredibly alarming. We need answers from Blinken about Special Envoy to Iran Robert Malley’s situation.https://t.co/tbvcTFjQpU
— Rep. Brian Mast (@RepBrianMast) August 23, 2023
Politico also noted that no evidence of Malley receiving his revocation in writing has been produced, and he continued working with the State Department for a short time, even though they had announced he was placed on unpaid leave. Similarly, another article noted Malley defended Palestine after the failed Camp David peace talks under President Clinton and met with members of Hamas while serving as president of the International Crisis Group (ICG).
In November, Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) demanded the Biden Administration stop negotiations with Iran on a renewed nuclear deal which Malley said was "not on our agenda" and "not going to waste time" on.