Congressional Republicans Find Evidence Biden's Iran Envoy Downloaded and Shared Classified Docs

AP Photo/Keystone, Laurent Gillieron, File

(EDITOR'S NOTE: This piece was originally published on May 14, 2024, and has been updated to include the entire letter from Sen. Risch and Rep. McCaul.)

Remember Rob Malley, one of Secretary of State Antony Blinken's childhood friends and Biden's Special Envoy to Iran? The guy who was stripped of his security clearance more than a year ago for possible mishandling of classified documents, and who was instrumental in inserting possible Tehran plants into the Biden administration?'


Well, some new details are being reported about what those classified documents might be, who might have taken them, and how.

As Nick Arama wrote in July 2023, here's a bit of a background on Malley:

Rob Malley was one of the architects behind the 2015 Iran nuclear deal during the Obama/Biden administration. Joe Biden made him the Special Envoy to Iran in 2021, and he revived talk on the deal that former President Donald Trump had pulled out of in 2018.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee had been trying to get testimony from him for months. Still, the State Department kept putting them off for a variety of reasons, even though he was making press appearances.

Then it turned out that Malley had been stripped of his security clearance and placed on full unpaid leave pending a State Department security investigation for possible mishandling of classified documents. That investigation involved the FBI and the Diplomatic Security Service (the law enforcement branch of the State Department). He had been placed on partial leave in the spring.

That’s incredibly concerning, given his position and what he might have done.

And then in September some very troubling information came out, as Streiff reported:

A week ago Semafor broke a major story about a secret effort by the Iranian government "to bolster Tehran’s image and positions on global security issues — particularly its nuclear program — by building ties with a network of influential overseas academics and researchers." One of the people recruited into this group was Robert Malley, Joe Biden's special envoy for Iran. Malley brought Ariane Tabatabai into government. Tabatabai ended up as chief of staff to Christopher Maier, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict, the Defense Department's top counterterrorism official. Tabatabai remains on the job even though we have emails from her checking in with Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps officials about what her views should be on various subjects.


Malley is also extremely close to IEI members Dina Esfandiary and Ali Vaez, both of whom he brought to work with him at International Crisis Group (ICG), a think tank he currently heads. Vaez is described by Semafor as Malley's protege; Malley attempted to have Vaez work with him at the State Department during the Obama administration but Vaez couldn't get a security clearance due to his close connections to Tehran. Both Esfandiary and Vaez continued their employment at ICG when Malley went to the Biden administration. (Interestingly, Vaez blocked this writer on Twitter after RedState published a series articles about Malley and Tabatabai.)

Finally, in October 2023 the House Oversight & Accountability Committee launched an investigation into the administration's concessions to the Iranian regime and Malley's actions specifically. In a letter to the State Department, Rep. James Comer also asked for information related to Tabatabai's security clearance approval process. As of the beginning of May, there's been no information provided to the committees, so Republicans have been doing their own investigations and might have found something. In an opinion column at the Washington Post (odd place to break some news), Josh Rogin wrote:

“Due to the Department’s evasiveness and lack of transparency, we have worked to glean information from other sources. Our own investigations have uncovered the following information and troubling allegations. We ask that you confirm the information we have learned.”

Risch and McCaul are asking the State Department to confirm that Malley’s security clearance was suspended by the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service because he “allegedly transferred classified documents to his personal email account and downloaded these documents to his personal cell phone.”


Semafor had reported in July 2023 that Malley was under federal investigation for potentially mishandling classified documents, and in August the Tehran Times published a series of articles it claimed were based on leaked secret U.S. government documents related to the Biden administration's conduct toward Iran and its internal politics. Those leaks are being investigated by the State Department inspector general's office, but the letter from Risch and McCaul contends those document leaks are connected to a "hack" of one of Malley's personal devices.

“When and how did the cyber actor compromise Mr. Malley’s account?” the letter asks. “Did the compromise of Mr. Malley’s device enable subsequent compromise of other senior officials at the State Department, National Security Council, or other agencies? How did the malign cyber actor utilize the information obtained from Mr. Malley?”

That's assuming that the device was hacked to start with, and ignoring the fact that classified information shouldn't have been on Malley's personal device, and discarding the very real possibility that Malley deliberately allowed the device to fall into the hands of a "malign cyber actor."

“The allegations we have been privy to are extremely troubling and demand immediate answers,” the letter concluded. “These allegations have substantial impact on our national security and people should be held accountable swiftly and strongly.”

We definitely need to know quickly what's really going on and who needs to be on trial for treason, but it's doubtful that any of that will happen.


Read the entire letter to Secretary of State Blinken below.

Letter from McCaul to Blinken by Jennifer Van Laar on Scribd


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