TEHRAN (Iran News) – US President Donald Trump continued his purge of inspector generals late on Friday, moving to oust Steve Linick, who had served in that post at the State Department since 2013, and replacing him with an ambassador with close ties to Vice President Mike Pence.
Linick, who was named to lead the office of the inspector general at the State Department by President Barack Obama, will be replaced by Stephen Akard, the director of the Office of Foreign Missions, the State Department said in a statement on Friday night.
In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and obtained by The New York Times, Trump wrote that “it is vital that I have the fullest confidence in the appointees serving as Inspectors General.”
“That is no longer the case with regard to this Inspector General,” the US president added.
The decision to remove Linick is the latest in a purge of inspectors general whom Trump deems insufficiently loyal to his administration, upending the traditional independence of the internal watchdog agencies whose missions are to conduct oversight of the nation’s sprawling bureaucracy.
On May 1, even as the coronavirus pandemic continued to ravage the country, Trump moved to oust Christi Grimm, the principal deputy inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services, whose office had issued a report revealing the dire state of the nation’s response to the pathogen.
A month earlier, the president ousted Michael Atkinson, the inspector general of the intelligence community, telling the leaders of two congressional committees that he had lost confidence in him. Atkinson had infuriated the president by insisting on telling Congress about the whistleblower complaint that prompted the impeachment inquiry into Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.
Trump also took steps to remove Glenn Fine, who has been the acting inspector general for the Defense Department since before Trump took office so that he could not be installed as the leader of an oversight panel designed to keep tabs on how the president’s administration spends trillions of dollars in pandemic relief approved by Congress.
The removals of the inspectors general – and their replacement with allies of the president – are part of an aggressive strategy by Trump and his top aides to move against what he considers to be “deep state” officials throughout many of the key agencies who he believes are opposed to his agenda.
- source : Tasnim, Irannews