Former US Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley

Malley May Have Shared Documents with Unauthorized Individuals

Thursday, 05/30/2024

Questions surrounding Biden admin's suspended Iran envoy Rob Malley became more serious Wednesday with reports that he may have shared sensitive and classified documents with individuals outside the US government.

On Wednesday, Semafor reported, quoting people familiar with a Congressional probe into Malley's handling of classified information, that Biden’s Iran envoy transferred documents to his personal devices “with classifications ranging from sensitive but unclassified to classified”, and may have shared some with unauthorized people, “to advance his diplomatic efforts.”

This allegation follows earlier reports that a “hostile cyber actor” may have had stolen documents from Malley’s personal email and cell phone. It’s not clear who the “cyber actor” was, but US senators have expressed concern about the possibility that it could have been related to Iran’s intelligence or Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).

Among the documents downloaded by Malley on his personal devices, Semafor reports, “are detailed notes of the diplomat’s encounters with Iranian officials in the months leading up to his suspension. There also may have been documents related to the US government’s response to the wide scale political protests that erupted in Iran – and globally – during the fall of 2022 following the death of a young Kurdish woman, Mahsa Amini, in police custody.”

Malley was appointed by Biden in early 2021 to spearhead the administration’s efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran that Donald Trump had tossed out in 2018. After about two years in the job, Malley was placed on leave and had his security clearance suspended. Iran International was first to report this in June 2023, with very little detail as to why such drastic measures were taken by the Department of State.

The matter was then taken up by Republican lawmakers who tried to obtain information about the reasons for and the circumstances of Malley’s suspension. But the State Department refused to provide answers on numerous occasions – up to the point that Senator Jim Risch, Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee suggested in a hearing on 16 May that they would have to issue a subpoena to extract answers.

The State Department's refusal to provide details on Malley’s case and the ongoing probe has led many to believe that there may be a case of serious ‘wrongdoing’ that could be damaging to Biden in the run up to the 2024 elections.

Biden critics in the Congress have been particularly vocal about his Iran policy, ever since he took office, but even more so after October 7, 2023, when Hamas rampaged border areas inside Israel, killing several hundred civilians – and triggering the ongoing onslaught on Gaza, which has reportedly killed more than 30,000 Palestinians.

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