Republicans reportedly claim US Iran envoy sent classified information to personal devices

Questions have swirled around Robert Malley's suspension since last year

US special envoy for Iran Robert Malley, who was suspended in June, photographed in Vienna in 2021. AP
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Two Republican members of Congress have alleged that the suspension of the US Iran envoy, Robert Malley, centres on how he sent classified documents to his personal email and downloaded them on his phone, according to reports.

The Washington Post and Reuters reported this week that Senate foreign relations committee ranking member Jim Risch and House foreign affairs committee chairman Mike McCaul made the claims in a May 6 letter sent to Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

The reports published this week said the congressional leaders did not specify the source of their claims.

The letter said that “it is believed that a hostile cyber actor was able to gain access to his email and/or phone and obtain the downloaded information”.

A Politico report on Friday said that the FBI is conducting a criminal inquiry and investigating whether a foreign agent gained possession of sensitive documents.

Last year, the House foreign affairs committee told The National that President Joe Biden's administration had “refused” to give information about Mr Malley's suspension in closed-door congressional meetings.

The State Department confirmed Mr Malley's suspension in June, right after US officials travelled to Oman for indirect talks with Iran, according to Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The career diplomat announced in the months following that he had joined Princeton University's faculty, adding in a statement published by the Ivy League institution that he would return to government service “in due course”.

The House committee representative told The National last year that the Biden administration had cited the Privacy Act in its tight-lipped response to questions over Mr Malley's leave.

The Privacy Act “prohibits the disclosure of a record about an individual from a system of records absent the written consent of the individual”, according to the Department of Justice, but has exceptions for disclosure, including to Congress.

Updated: May 11, 2024, 4:14 AM