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The congressional probe into President Biden’s suspended special envoy to Iran, Robert Malley, has revealed that he may have shared classified material with individuals outside the US government. Malley was placed on unpaid leave last June and had his security clearance suspended two months earlier due to this discovery. Evidence found by Republican lawmakers suggests that Malley disseminated sensitive documents with his allies in an effort to advance diplomatic efforts related to Tehran.

It has been learned that Malley transferred about a dozen documents, some marked as “sensitive” and “classified,” to his personal devices while leading the Biden administration’s diplomatic relations with Iran. These documents reportedly included detailed notes of his interactions with Iranian officials and material concerning the US government’s response to the 2022 Mahsa Amini protests in Iran. Top Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations and House Foreign Affairs Committee have raised concerns about the allegations and asked the State Department to confirm that Malley stored classified material on his personal email account and cellphone.

In a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Senate Foreign Relations Committee ranking member James Risch and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul stated that Malley’s security clearance was suspended because he allegedly transferred classified documents to his personal email and cellphone, which may have been accessed by a hostile cyber actor. The State Department has provided Congress with information on personnel inquiries related to Iran policy but has not commented on the specific allegations made by Risch and McCaul. Malley remains on leave while the investigation continues.

In a similar situation in 2015, the FBI opened a criminal investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for storing emails on unsecured private servers that discussed classified information. Despite determining that hostile actors may have accessed her personal email account, Clinton was not charged with a crime. Malley is now under investigation by the FBI according to McCaul and Risch. The FBI and State Department have not responded to requests for comment on this matter.

This revelation raises serious concerns about the handling of classified material by government officials such as Malley and brings to mind previous incidents involving high-profile figures like Hillary Clinton. The potential risk of allowing classified information to be accessed by unauthorized individuals, including hostile actors, highlights the importance of strict protocols and security measures when dealing with such sensitive material. The ongoing investigation into Malley’s actions underscores the need for accountability and transparency in ensuring the integrity of classified information within the government. Lawmakers are closely monitoring the situation and seeking answers from the State Department regarding the allegations against Malley.

The similarities between the allegations against Malley and the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email practices highlight the need for consistent enforcement of security protocols and consequences for mishandling classified material. The potential breach of sensitive information and the involvement of a hostile cyber actor in accessing the documents raise questions about the extent of the damage caused by Malley’s actions. The FBI’s investigation into Malley and the State Department’s response to the allegations will be closely watched by Congress and the public to ensure that appropriate measures are taken to prevent future incidents of this nature. The consequences of mishandling classified material are serious and will require a thorough investigation to determine the extent of the breach and any necessary disciplinary actions.

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