Inspector General

Ousted State Department Watchdog Says Top Officials Lobbied Him Not to Probe Saudi Arms Deal

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo renewed his defense of the firing of the inspector general, saying he wished he had asked the president to act earlier

Mike Pompeo

The former State Department inspector general fired by President Donald Trump told lawmakers that two top officials tried to discourage his investigation into a U.S. arms sale to Saudi Arabia, according to congressional testimony released Wednesday.

The ousted inspector general, Steve Linick, said Under Secretary of State for Management Brian Bulatao told him “that we shouldn't be doing the work because it was a policy matter not within the IG's jurisdiction,” according to a transcript of his June 3 testimony.

The State Department’s acting legal advisor, Marik String, also questioned the probe, arguing it was outside the scope of the inspector general and purely a policy matter, Linick said.

But according to Linick, he refused to drop the investigation, saying his office’s mission was to evaluate whether policies are being implemented effectively and in accordance with the law.

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