Leaked Document: Robert Malley's Security Clearance Revoked Over Handling of Sensitive Info, Personal Conduct, and Use of Classified Networks

Embattled US-Iran envoy claimed he had no idea why clearance was revoked

Robert Malley (Mazen Mahdi/AFP via Getty Images)
August 28, 2023

Embattled U.S.-Iran envoy Robert Malley had his security clearance and State Department credentials pulled in late April after "serious security concerns" were internally raised about his handling of sensitive information, personal conduct, and use of classified networks, according to a leaked letter sent by the State Department's security division.

Government investigators "received information regarding you that raises serious security concerns and can be disqualifying under" top-secret security guidelines, according to the letter, which was published over the weekend by the Tehran Times, an Iranian state-controlled media outlet.

The letter indicates that, contrary to Malley's public comments on the matter, the now-suspended official knew as early as April exactly why his security clearance was revoked. The letter details how Malley may have breached three separate security guidelines meant to protect classified information. Malley was put on unpaid leave earlier this year after it was revealed that his security clearance was revoked and the matter turned over to the FBI for investigation.

"Your national security eligibility, including your Top Secret security clearance, is suspended pending an ongoing investigation," the letter states. Malley was required at the time to hand over his State Department identification badge, all government-issued credentials, and his diplomatic passport.

A State Department spokesman told the Washington Free Beacon it is aware of reports about the internal document, but would not comment on its authenticity.

"We are aware of these reports," the spokesman said. "The department does not comment on internal matters. Rob Malley remains on leave.  We have nothing further to share at this time due to privacy considerations."

Former U.S. officials have indicated the letter is real, prompting further questions about whether Malley was truthful when he told reporters in late June that he had "not been provided any further information" about his suspension.

"The letter looks authentic to me," Gabriel Noronha, a former State Department adviser on Iran, wrote on X, formerly Twitter. The document "indicates Malley also lied about not knowing why his clearance was pulled."

Richard Goldberg, a former White House National Security Council member who worked on Iran issues, also raised questions about how the internal State Department document made its way to an Iranian state-controlled mouthpiece.

"The Tehran Times knows more about Rob Malley than the New York Times," Goldberg wrote on X. "This is insane."

Update 3:21 p.m.: This post has been updated with comment from the State Department.