The Secretary’s “Emergency Certification Was Properly Executed” and “Complied with the Requirements” of Law
The State Department Office of Inspector General (OIG) has confirmed in a final report that the Department acted in complete accordance with the law and found no wrongdoing in the Administration’s exercise of emergency authorities available under the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) to expedite $8 billion in critical defense systems to key Middle East partners. The transfers were essential to bolster the security of the Gulf region and our ally Israel against the sharp increase in Iranian aggression in 2019.
The OIG determined that:
- “[T]he Secretary’s May 2019 use of emergency authorities was executed in accordance with the requirements of Section 36 of AECA.” (p. 9);
- the “Emergency Certification Was Properly Executed” (p. 9); and
- “the documentation complied with the requirements outlined in the AECA.” (p. 9).
Far from a unique determination, the report notes that this emergency authority has been utilized by five (5) of the previous seven (7) U.S. Presidents to address critical national security threats, including Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, and President Donald J. Trump.
The OIG briefed these key findings to the Department in November 2019 and March 2020 under former Inspector General Steve Linick, including the finding that the OIG found no wrongdoing. The Acting Inspector General recused himself from this review. It is unclear why the OIG required an additional 10 months to finalize the report since its key conclusions were briefed to the Department.
In June 2019, every Democratic Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee signed a letter directing the OIG to embark on this legal review, despite the fact that the Secretary exercised a specific authority granted to the Executive Branch by Congress in law. Over the course of the OIG’s 13-month inquisition, the OIG interviewed 46 Department employees – an astounding expenditure of taxpayer resources. Now that the OIG has completed its work, we hope these Members and media outlets who echoed their baseless accusations will publicly accept the findings of the report they requested from the OIG and immediately retract their statements from the past year:
- Chairman Engel stated the Administration was lying about the “phony” Iranian emergency, alleging it was “an abuse of the law.” (House Foreign Affairs Committee, 6/12/19)
- Ranking Member Menendez wrongly asserted that Secretary Pompeo “ignore[d] the law”, when, in fact, the OIG found the Secretary utilized the authority Congress granted by law to the Executive Branch (Senator Bob Menendez, 7/10/19)
- In June 2020, the New York Times reported on the yet to be completed Inspector General review, while speculating that Secretary Pompeo may have “acted illegally.” (The New York Times, 6/25/20)