State Department announces another acting watchdog in latest reshuffle

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The State Department has a new acting inspector general, marking the third person in the role since President Trump abruptly fired the agency’s internal watchdog in May.

Matthew Klimow, who has served as U.S. ambassador to Turkmenistan since 2019, was appointed by Trump as acting inspector general on Aug. 31, a spokesperson for the watchdog’s office told The Hill on Thursday.

Klimow’s appointment was first reported by Politico, with no prior public announcement from the administration.

A graduate of West Point and a retired Army colonel, Klimow has held numerous government positions over the past two decades spanning the White House, State Department and NATO.

He was also awarded the Silver Star as a combat veteran, the nation’s third highest award for valor in combat.

“The Department of State appreciates Ambassador Klimow coming back to Washington, D.C. to fulfill the role of the Acting Inspector General until the end of 2020,” a State Department spokesperson wrote in response to a question from The Hill over the staff shakeup.

Klimow is quietly taking over a watchdog post that has drawn intense scrutiny from Democrats.

House lawmakers are investigating the president’s ousting of longtime Inspector General Steve Linick, whom Trump removed from his post in May at the request of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Linick had served in his position since 2013, having been appointed by former President Obama and continuing in the role for the first three year’s of Trump’s presidency.

Democrats charge that Linick may have been fired as an act of political retaliation for conducting at least two investigations into Pompeo’s actions at the State Department.

This includes a probe into whether the secretary and his wife used federal resources for personal benefit, and the circumstances surrounding Pompeo’s use of an emergency declaration to sell billions of dollars worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan without the approval of Congress.

The inspector general report on the arms sales was published last month under the leadership of then-acting Inspector General Diana Shaw, who had taken over the report when Linick’s immediate replacement, Stephen Akard, recused himself from the probe.

Shaw formally replaced Akard as acting inspector general last month when the State Department announced that he would be leaving the agency for the private sector. He was in his position for less than three months. 

Shaw has returned to her position as deputy inspector general, the watchdog’s office said.

Tags Donald Trump Matthew Klimow Mike Pompeo state department inspector general Steve Linick

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