August 19, 2022

Whip it good!: Fired State Dept. Inspector General was investigating workplace violence under Pompeo

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s list of investigatable offenses is getting longer with each passing day.


Revelations about exactly what the StateDepartment’s now-fired Inspector General Steve Linick has been poking around and investigating keep leaking out and they’ve gone far beyond the initial reports of mere ethical improprieties involving having his federal employee staffers pick up his dry cleaning, book his restaurant reservations, and walk his dog.

Since then we’ve read that “Mr. Linick was also investigating whether the administration unlawfully declared an ’emergency’ last year that enabled Mr. Pompeo to circumvent a congressional ban and approve the resumption of arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates,” as The New York Times reported.

Now, Politico has dropped another bombshell on Pompeo and the Trump administration, revealing that the inspector general had recently completed an inquiry into two of the Secretary of State’s top aides that concluded that had most likely covered up accusations of workplace violence in the department’s Office of Protocol.

The investigation into Cam Henderson, head of the department’s Office of Protocol, and her deputy, Mary-Kate Fisher, may have been one more factor in Pompeo’s urging of the president to remove Linick from his position.

Henderson ascended to the position at the top of the protocol office after her predecessor, Sean Lawler, was forced out of the office. Employees in the Protocol Office have alleged that Lawler intimidated and harassed his staff, and even carried a whip with him on the job to create an atmosphere of fear.

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Linick’s investigation was not so much into the now-resigned Lawler’s behavior as it was into Henderson and Fisher’s violation of State Department policy by not reporting the workplace violence allegations to their superiors.

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According to Politico, a source “familiar with the issue” said that the inspector general’s office had concluded that Henderson and Fisher likely had run afoul of the regulations and that the State Department should take appropriate action.

Politico writes:

“According to the person familiar with the issue, the probe was finished about around two weeks ago and Linick’s office was awaiting a response from the department.”

Linick wasn’t expecting the response to be his thirty-day notice, but that is indeed what happened once Pompeo made his wishes to be free of Linick’s pesky irritants known to Donald Trump.

For his part, Pompeo dismisses the charges of removing the inspector general because of the too efficient results of his probes as quickly as he called for Linick’s removal. He also brushed off the allegations against him that the inspector general’s office was investigating.

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“I’ve seen the various stories that someone was walking my dog to sell arms to my dry cleaner. I mean, it’s all just crazy. It’s all crazy stuff,” Pompeo prevaricated.

Perhaps Linick could have gotten more effective results from his investigations if he walked into Pompeo’s office carrying a whip.

Apparently, that’s the sort of thing that happens in the State Department with few consequences except for the people investigating incidents of workplace violence and intimidation and the failure to report and act upon it.

Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter.

Original reporting by Nahal Toosi and Quint Forgey at Politico.

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Vinnie Longobardo

is the Managing Editor of Washington Press and a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile, & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.

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