Congressional Democrats Tuesday released details from their full interview with a former State Department senior official conducted in their investigation into the firing of agency internal watchdog Steve Linick.
The interview of Charles Faulkner, who had been a senior official in the department's Bureau of Legislative Affairs, concerned Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his use of an emergency declaration last year that allowed the sale of $8 billion worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia and other Middle East nations, reports The Hill. The sale had bypassed congressional approval.
Linick had been investigating the declaration and was nearly finished with the probe when he was fired. His report was released under acting Inspector General Diana Shaw and found that Pompeo had acted within his authority, but it still found the agency at fault for not working harder to reduce risking civilian lives in conflict zones.
“Mr. Faulkner’s testimony shows that before Secretary Pompeo had Inspector General Linick fired, the [Office of Inspector General] was looking at the connection between Congress’ concerns about civilian casualties in Yemen and the administration’s use of the emergency authority to ignore those concerns and get around congressional objections,” the lawmakers, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., and Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., who is the the top Democrat on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, said in a joint statement.
Faulkner testified that the concern for civilian casualties at the hands of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen had been shared in several State bureaus and raised in meetings with groups outside the government, and that he couldn't "name people who weren't concerned about it,” according to the transcript. “I think everyone that I'm aware of was concerned about the loss of life.”
Congress had sought to block the weapons sales because of concerns they could be used against civilians and in retribution against Riyadh for the killing of journalist journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.