Pompeo and State Department officials called OIG report findings a victory confirming secretary and agency acted within their authority to sell more than $ 8 billion in arms to Arabia Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan to “deter Iranian aggression” in May. 2019.
At that point, the declaration of emergency allowed the Trump administration to bypass Congress, which was struggling to block arms sales over concerns about human rights violations and losses. civilians of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, as well as to punish Riyadh for the murder. by Jamal Khashoggi.
The OIG report said the secretary acted within his authority to push arms sales, but criticized the department for not doing enough to ensure that US weapons were not used against civilians. .
Still, Engel argued that the details of the OIG report raise questions about the secretary’s motives for the statement.
“No one has ever doubted that the law gives the power to speed up the sale of arms in an emergency. The question has always been: “Has the administration abused this authority to achieve over $ 8 billion in sales to Gulf countries?” Engel said in a statement.
“The IG has not issued an opinion on this subject. But the details of the report signal a resounding “Yes”. I guess that’s why the department insisted on redacting the most important information and trying to tell us what the report said before it was released.
An unredacted version of the report was sent to all members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and, in a copy obtained by The Hill, revealed the timeline for preparations for the declaration of emergency that was not originally view in the redacted version.
Details of the unredacted report were first reported by Politico.
The OIG report pointed out that in March 2019, congressional catches blocked at least 16 arms transfers to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
In the unredacted timeline, the OIG said that in early April, Pompeo asked its staff to consider how the Department could move forward with the transfer of arms sales and the idea of declaring a emergency was presented to him.
On May 4, Pompeo tasked his staff to prepare for certification for May 24.
The timeline continues as Pompeo informed Congress of the Iranian threat on May 21 and then announced the emergency declaration as scheduled on May 24.
The report further details the weapons sent under the declaration of emergency and the timing of their delivery. The OIG found that precision guided munitions were the first weapons transferred under the declaration. The OIG, in its report, criticized the agency for not doing more to ensure that PGMs were not at risk of being used that would harm civilians.
The OIG found that at the time of its review, only $ 20 million of the $ 3.9 billion in foreign military sales included in the emergency had been implemented. The report also found that five of the 22 planned arms transfers would not be available until 2020 or later.
“What sort of emergency makes itself known a few months in advance and can be solved with weapons delivered years later?” Engel asked in his statement Tuesday, and called the use of the emergency declaration a “sham.”
“This report tells us everything we suspected: the emergency was a sham. It was designed to circumvent congressional scrutiny of a bad policy choice. And since Mr Pompeo declared this “emergency” he and his main lieutenants have worked to bury the truth, “he said.
The State Department in a statement on Tuesday reiterated that the OIG report revealed that Pompeo acted in accordance with the guidelines of the declaration of emergency.
“As the secretary made clear in May 2019 in the emergency certification, the situation in the Gulf very clearly justified the use of statutory authority in the law on the control of arms exports,” said a spokesperson for the State Department. President TrumpDonald John Trump Teachers Union Launches Purchase of 0K Ads Calling for Education Funding in Relief Bill FDA Pledges ‘Don’t Cut Round Corners’ on Coronavirus Vaccine Leave Our Values guiding COVID-19 PLUS liability protectionBrutal firing, at the request of Pompeo, by State Department Inspector General Steve Linick in mid-May.
Linick had opened an investigation into Saudi arms sales at the request of Congress.
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Pompeo, on an official trip to Europe, took to Twitter to accuse the report of exonerating the department and criticized Engel and Menendez for abusing their committees “for political purposes.”
Menendez countered that the report showed there was “no national security emergency.”
“The truth is, there was no national security emergency… unless your darling of the Saudi Crown Prince counts as one. Stop drafting and gaslighting to avoid liability Less oversight over congressional oversight, please, ”he wrote on Twitter.