Fired State IG Was Investigating Pompeo’s Role in Saudi Arms Sale without Congressional Oversight
May 19, 2020 (EIRNS)—Steve Linick, the State Department Inspector General whom President Donald Trump on the evening of May 15, was investigating Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s role in an $8 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. in 2019. The sale took place without the normal Congressional oversight, as President Trump had declared an “Emergency” because of the alleged terrorist threat from Iran, which allowed the sale to proceed without the normal input from Congress. This investigation was in addition to one announced earlier, regarding State Department employees being asked to do personal favors for Pompeo and his wife.
While Trump made fun of the charge about “favors,” he has made it clear that the firing of IG Linick was entirely at the request of Pompeo, telling reporters May 18: “I don’t know anything about him [Linick] other than the State Department, and Mike, in particular, I guess they weren’t happy with the job he’s doing or something. So, because it’s my right to do it, I said, ‘Sure, I’ll do it.’ ”
NBC reports that three officials from different Congressional committees say investigators on Capitol Hill believe that Linick’s investigations into the Saudi arms sale and Pompeo’s use of the political aide contributed to his firing. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel said May 18 that his office “was investigating—at my request—Trump’s phony declaration of an emergency so he could send weapons to Saudi Arabia. We don’t have the full picture yet, but it’s troubling that Secretary Pompeo wanted Mr. Linick pushed out before this work could be completed.” Engel and Sen. Bob Menendez have requested that the administration release records related to the arms sale.
Pompeo said he had no idea what the IG was investigating, so it could not be viewed as “retaliation.”
Other sources at the State Department told the press that Linick was suspected of leaks.