US State Department watchdog ousted


MAY 15, 2020

State Department Inspector General Steve Linick. – Win McNamee/Getty Images

WASHINGTON, D.C. – State Department Inspector General Steve Linick has been removed, according to a senior administration official and a congressional aide.

Linick, a Justice Department veteran appointed to the role in 2013 by then President Barack Obama, is the latest of a slew of inspectors general to be ousted in recent months.

He played a minor role in the House of Representatives’ impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, ferrying a trove of documents to lawmakers that had been provided to the State Department by Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer.

A State Department spokesperson said that Amb. Stephen Akard, a former career Foreign Service officer, “will now lead the Office of the Inspector General at the State Department,” noting that Akard was previously confirmed by the Senate as head of the department’s Office of Foreign Missions. He will now serve in an acting capacity.

Before joining the Trump administration, Akard was chief of staff for the Indiana Economic Development Corporation under then-governor Mike Pence, who is now vice president.

The executive branch is required to notify Congress 30 days ahead of time if it intends remove an inspector general.

Linick is relatively well-respected at the State Department, and his office stays busy, regularly churning out a range of inspections, audits and other types of reports.

His departure is likely to further deepen morale problems that have festered at State since the start of the Trump administration, when many career diplomats found themselves shunted aside and cast as a “deep state” bent on undermining a Trump.

Two of Linick’s most-read reports over the past year involved alleged retaliation by Trump political appointees against career employees.

Courtesy/Source: Politico