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Navy memo cites 'problematic' State request for Pompeo to get military housing in 2018

The U.S. Navy flagged a “problematic” request from the State Department in 2018 asking for Secretary Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoO'Brien on 2024 talk: 'There's all kinds of speculation out there' Israeli military instructed to prepare for Trump strike on Iran: report Biden's State Department picks are a diplomatic slam dunk MORE to receive military housing, according to a memo obtained by the watchdog group American Oversight.

The May 2018 document noted there “might be a negative public perception relating to a civilian Secretary of State displacing a uniformed member of the military in a tight housing market.”

A Navy attorney, whose name was redacted from the memo obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, pointed out that the housing request was made “through informal channels.” The memo also said the houses Pompeo requested were very limited in number and already occupied.

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“Such residences are extremely scarce, are specifically aligned to identified Navy billets (such as Chief of Naval Operations; Commandant of the Marine Corps), and are all currently occupied,” the memo reads.

The attorney also noted that it's unclear if Pompeo was planning to pay for the housing himself or if it would be budgeted by the State Department.

A State Department spokesperson told The Hill on Friday that the request was made to save on security costs after the State Department and Pentagon approved housing for Pompeo following an assessment that found "the Secretary’s previous housing arrangement provided a more challenging location to secure for a cabinet officer who is fourth in line to the Presidency."

“The Secretary resides in an environment that provides 24/7 controlled access, which benefits and contributes to his overall safety and security,” acting Assistant Secretary Todd Brown said in a statement. “This is a commonsense solution to a security challenge.”

Pompeo lives in Northern Virginia on Fort Myer base, which falls under a different category than the Navy housing mentioned in the memo. The State Department said Pompeo pays fair market price for the “modest” home.

Pompeo has come under scrutiny from congressional Democrats following President TrumpDonald John TrumpUSAID administrator tests positive for COVID-19 Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams among nominees for Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year DOJ appeals ruling preventing it from replacing Trump in E. Jean Carroll defamation lawsuit MORE's dismissal of State Department Inspector General Steve Linick, who was fired at Pompeo's request in May.

Linick was looking into at least two investigations involving Pompeo, including potential misuse of federal funds by the secretary and his wife, and his role in justifying a presidential executive order for a multibillion-dollar arms deal with Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Jordan without congressional approval.