The State Department’s inspector general has opened an inquiry into the suspension of President Biden’s special envoy to Iran, Robert Malley, according to a report. 

The inspector general’s office informed members of Congress on Jan. 23 about the internal investigation, Semafor reported Saturday, citing correspondence viewed by the outlet. 

“The scope of the special review of the suspension of Robert Malley’s clearance will include the procedures the Department used in suspending the clearance as well as actions taken by the Department following the suspension,” Ryan Holden, the inspector general’s director of congressional and public affairs, reportedly said in the letter. “This will include whether the Department followed proper procedures in suspending his clearance, determining what access to information he could maintain, and deciding the status of his employment.”

Holden informed lawmakers that the inspector general was interviewing State Department staff and reviewing documents and emails as part of the probe, and that a report would be made public at a later date.


Robert Malley speaks at Rome summit

Robert Malley, vice president for Policy of the International Crisis Group, spoke at the Forum MED Mediterranean Dialogues summit in Rome on Nov. 30, 2017. (Riccardo De Luca/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

“The special review will also examine which officials were involved in these decisions and how the process compares to that used for other types of employees,” the letter added. 

Fox News Digital reached out to the State Department on Monday about the report but did not immediately hear back. 

The probe comes in response to growing questions from members of Congress about the Diplomatic Security Service’s decision to revoke his security clearance last April. 

Lawmakers reportedly have expressed concern over how Malley continued to perform some of the duties of the special envoy for nearly three months before the State Department officially placed him on unpaid leave in late June amid an investigation into his security clearance. Members of Congress hoped the new inspector general inquiry could explain why. 

Robert Malley testifies before the Senate

Robert Malley, then the Middle East and North Africa Program director at the International Crisis Group, left, testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Jan. 23, 2007 in Washington, D.C. (Jamie Rose/Getty Images)

GOP staffers who spoke to Semafor expressed doubt that details about the inspector general’s probe would be made public before November’s election, given the inquiry’s wide scope. 

Malley, who served in the position since January 2021, is also under investigation by the FBI for allegedly mishandling classified documents. He played a significant role in the Biden administration’s efforts to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement. In 2018, then-President Trump opted to withdraw from the deal and reimpose sanctions on Iran.


Before becoming special envoy, Malley worked in leadership roles at the non-profit International Crisis Group, which had reached a formal research agreement with Iran’s Foreign Ministry in 2016, Semafor reported earlier this month. The outlet said the deal had not been publicly disclosed. 

Malley during Austria nuclear deal talks with Iran

National Security Council Senior Director for Iran, Iraq, Syria and the Gulf States Robert Malley and other U.S. and EU officials with their Tehran counterparts attend the Iran nuclear talks at a hotel in Vienna on June 30, 2015. (POOL/Siamek Ebrahimi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

In the wake of the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks carried out by Hamas in southern Israel, Malley’s previous efforts to push for U.S. engagement with Iran-backed Hamas and Hezbollah terror groups have come under scrutiny. Yet, Malley, who remains on leave from the State Department, is teaching a class at Yale University this semester titled, “Contending with Israel-Palestine,” which aims to take “an in-depth look at important questions surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” according to Yale News. 


The Biden administration has been mostly quiet about Malley since his suspension over the summer, and a new special envoy has been tapped to take over. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, a high school classmate of Malley’s in Paris, and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan both initially championed Malley’s diplomatic work. 

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