Watchdog fired for undermining State Department's mission: Pompeo

By: AFP      Published: 12:52 AM, 19 May, 2020
Watchdog fired for undermining State Department's mission: Pompeo
–File photo

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday he sought the firing of a watchdog because he undermined the State Department's mission, and denied the move was retaliation for an investigation.

"It's simply not possible for this to be an act of retaliation. End of story," Pompeo told The Washington Post in his first public comment on the sacking of Inspector General Steve Linick.

Pompeo said he was unaware that Linick was pursuing a complaint that the top US diplomat misused a staff member for personal tasks, as alleged by Democratic members of Congress who say the firing may be illegal retribution.

"I usually see these investigations in final draft form 24 hours, 48 hours before the IG is prepared to release them," he said.

Pompeo instead said that Linick was "undermining" the mission of the State Department, without offering specifics.

"Just like every presidentially confirmed position, I can terminate them, they serve at his pleasure for any reason or no reason," Pompeo said, confirming he recommended the dismissal to President Donald Trump.