The State Department’s in-house watchdog and congressional Republicans have very different appraisals of the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM), the government-run news agency responsible for broadcasting America’s message to the world.
The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) shrugged at concerns by USAGM’s first Senate-confirmed CEO, Michael Pack, that it had routinely ignored security protocols “for at least a decade” while using the same visas intended for au pairs to hire foreign nationals as journalists.
By contrast, House Foreign Affairs Committee GOP members continue hounding the agency for rehiring senior officials dismissed by Pack for security and financial lapses — and in one case, inventing a doctorate — once the Biden administration took office.
Three weeks before OIG’s report, Empower Oversight Whistleblowers & Research filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking an earlier OIG report on Pack’s suspension of security clearances for six senior officials accused of chronic security lapses.
OIG reportedly found that the senior officials were whistleblowers who endured retaliation from Pack, who had no “legitimate basis” to suspend their clearances, but State does not appear to have made the report public, the request says. (It’s briefly mentioned in OIG’s latest report to Congress.)
The whistleblower group seeks all investigative reports related to internal whistleblower retaliation during Pack’s seven-month tenure and OIG’s communications regarding Pack with Capitol Hill and USAGM personnel.
The group’s founder Jason Foster, former chief investigative counsel to then-Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), told Just the News that State’s FOIA officer had still not responded to the group’s request more than two months later. Huffman told Just the News that OIG was “currently working on” a response and expects to have it “ready soon.”
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