Now You See Me, Now You Don't: State Department Removes Embattled Iran Envoy’s Bio from Website

Before being placed on leave, Rob Malley served as U.S. special envoy to Iran

Robert Malley (Mazen Mahdi/AFP via Getty Images)
July 14, 2023

The State Department has deleted embattled Iran envoy Rob Malley’s biography from its website amid an investigation into Malley’s alleged mishandling of classified information.

Malley’s biography is no longer featured on the State Department's official web portal, hinting that the official may no longer be employed even as the department maintains that Malley is "on leave" from his posting for undisclosed reasons. The Iran envoy’s official Twitter page also no longer features Malley’s image, which is now replaced with a photograph of acting special envoy Abram Paley, who has taken on Malley’s duties.

Malley has been missing in action for months, but was formally placed on unpaid leave late last month after news broke of an investigation into his mishandling of classified information. Malley’s security clearance was revoked while the FBI reportedly probes the matter.

The investigation into Malley has fueled speculation across Capitol Hill as the Biden administration secretly negotiates a revamped version of the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran. Malley was leading these talks until he quietly went on extended leave earlier this month.

House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Michael McCaul (R., Texas) pressed the State Department for answers earlier this month, but his investigation is being stonewalled, the Washington Free Beacon reported Wednesday. The State Department informed McCaul that it is "not in a position to provide further documents or information related to this personnel-security clearance matter."

The response drew outrage from McCaul, who is currently working on ways to compel the State Department into coming clean about Malley’s actions. Lawmakers say they are particularly concerned by the Biden administration’s attempts to keep Malley’s security clearance issues a secret. News of the investigation only became public after it leaked to the press.

"Congress deserves to know exactly why the U.S. Special Envoy to Iran had his security clearance suspended, was then suspended from his position, and now, according to news reports, is being investigated by the FBI," McCaul told the Free Beacon earlier this week. "This is a person whose mission is to negotiate with the Islamic Republic of Iran—nothing could be more serious than this."

The State Department continues to duck questions about Malley, or even confirm that he is under investigation, despite Malley himself confirming that his security clearance was revoked.

"Rob Malley remains on leave," a State Department spokesman told the Free Beacon. "We have nothing further to share at this time due to privacy considerations."