The State Department Office of Inspector General concluded in a report released Tuesday that the department acted “in accordance with the law" in arms sales to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan.
A senior State Department official, speaking to reporters on condition of anonymity to preview the report, said the “big takeaway” from the report is that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the department acted “in accordance with the law" in approving arms sales totaling $8.1 billion to the three countries.
The Office of Inspector General concluded in the report that Pompeo had the legal authority to declare an emergency and bypass Congress under the Arms Export Control Act.
The report concluded that the law grants the secretary the discretion to decide what constitutes an emergency, something three previous administrations have done.
Pompeo’s move was the result of challenges in the Gulf region and the threat posed by Iran and its proxies, said the official.
In its press release, the State Department hoped members of Congress and media outlets who echoed their baseless accusations will publicly accept the findings of the report they requested from the OIG and immediately retract their statements from the past year.
It said chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Rep. Eliot Engel stated the Administration was lying about the “phony” Iranian emergency, alleging it was “an abuse of the law.”
Ranking Member Bob Menendez wrongly asserted that Pompeo “ignore[d] the law”, when, in fact, the OIG found the Secretary utilized the authority Congress granted by law to the Executive Branch, said the statement.
It added that in June 2020, the New York Times reported on the yet to be completed Inspector General review, while speculating that Pompeo may have “acted illegally.”