Washington—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, this evening released an affidavit submitted to the Committee by former State Department official Stephen Akard. Ambassador Akard served as the Director of Foreign Missions and, after the firing of former State Department Inspector General Steve Linick, simultaneously as acting Inspector General. In his affidavit, Ambassador Akard outlines the timeline of his assuming the role of acting Inspector General and his contacts with senior State Department officials once he was in place.
“Ambassador Akard’s affidavit shows that top Pompeo aide, Under Secretary Brian Bulatao, contacted him roughly a month before Mr. Linick’s removal, telling him the firing was imminent and asking him to temporarily replace Mr. Linick. After Mr. Akard took over as acting IG, Mr. Bulatao apparently impugned Mr. Linick’s integrity over his handling of the investigation over the leak of an unfinished OIG report last year and misrepresented Mr. Linick’s actions on that matter.
“One of my major concerns about Mr. Akard’s appointment was his apparent conflict of interest, serving both as Inspector General and in a role subordinate to Mr. Bulatao and Secretary Pompeo. The OIG staff apparently shared that concern and ‘confronted’ Mr. Akard on his first day. He did the right thing by recusing himself from certain matters. When he left the Department less than three months later, he recommended that the administration seek an outsider with investigative experience to replace him—in my view, a wise suggestion, considering the conflicts of interest that followed him into the role. The Department’s leadership ignored that recommendation.
“I’m grateful to Ambassador Akard for assisting with the Committee’s investigation, I thank him for his service, and I wish him well,” said Chairman Engel.
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