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Senator Duckworth Calls for Document Preservation at U.S. Department of State | U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois

January 08, 2020

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Today, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), combat Veteran and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, called on State Department Inspector General Steve Linick to immediately issue a document preservation order for the U.S. Department of State and its Bureau of Diplomatic Security. The Bureau of Diplomatic Security is responsible for safeguarding American Foreign Service Officers and coordinating embassy security programs abroad. In light of the recent airstrikes that have continued to ratchet up tensions in the Middle East, early document preservation will be key to conducting a comprehensive review of the Bureau’s planning, preparation for and execution of enhanced security measures to protect U.S. personnel, property and interests abroad.  

“Congress has invested significant time and resources in examining past tragedies and incidents involving Diplomatic Security,” wrote Senator Duckworth. “To achieve long-term impact, Congress must continue to insist on regular, independent oversight of DS effectiveness in carrying out its vital mission.”

Duckworth continued: “An independent State OIG investigation is particularly warranted in light of the stark contrast between the Secretary of State’s comments alleging, without specific evidence, that Americans are safer because of the military operation that killed General Soleimani; and the State Department’s concurrent emergency directives urging personnel to evacuate Iraq.”

A full copy of the letter is available below and online here.

The Honorable Steve A. Linick

Inspector General

Office of Inspector General

U.S. Department of State

SA-39

1700 North Moore Street

Arlington, VA 22209

Dear Inspector General Linick:

I write to request the U.S. Department of State Office of Inspector General (State OIG) immediately initiate a document preservation order for U.S. Department of State (State) materials relating to diplomatic security planning and operations prior to, and following, the January 3, 2020 military strike killing Major General Qasem Soleimani, head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Document preservation is critical to enable State OIG to conduct, at the appropriate time, a comprehensive investigation and after action review of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security’s (DS) effectiveness in preparing for, developing and executing enhanced security measures to protect U.S. personnel, property and interests abroad in advance of, and following, a major military action that carries significant diplomatic security ramifications.

Congress has invested significant time and resources in examining past tragedies and incidents involving Diplomatic Security. To achieve long-term impact, Congress must continue to insist on regular, independent oversight of DS effectiveness in carrying out its vital mission.

Accordingly, I request that State OIG conduct a comprehensive investigation examining the performance of DS in planning, preparing for and executing country-specific and region-wide enhanced diplomatic security strategies to protect U.S. personnel, property and interests prior to, and following, the January 3, 2020 strike that likely elevated threats posed to State Department personnel and employees of State Department contractors.

An independent State OIG investigation is particularly warranted in light of the stark contrast between the Secretary of State’s comments alleging, without specific evidence, that Americans are safer because of the military operation that killed General Soleimani; and the State Department’s concurrent emergency directives urging personnel to evacuate Iraq.

Finally, if State OIG review uncovers evidence that the Bureau of Diplomatic Security took no enhanced measures specifically in response to this military operation, I would request that you immediately notify Congress of this initial finding and provide emergency corrective action recommendation to the State Department.

Thank you in advance for your consideration of my request. If you have any questions about this request for a State OIG investigation, please have your staff contact Ms. Grace Cason at Grace_Cason@duckworth.senate.gov.

Sincerely,

Tammy Duckworth

United States Senator 

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All Information was gathered from publicly available US Government releases. "§105. Subject matter of copyright: United States Government works Copyright protection under this title is not available for any work of the United States Government, but the United States Government is not precluded from receiving and holding copyrights transferred to it by assignment, bequest, or otherwise. ( Pub. L. 94–553, title I, §101, Oct. 19, 1976, 90 Stat. 2546 .)" http://uscode.house.gov/view.xhtml?req=(title:17%20section:105%20edition:prelim)