WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement regarding the reply from the State Department Office of the Inspector General (OIG) to Rep. Engel’s March letters, which coincided with the release of a politically loaded report regarding the email practices of past Secretaries of State:

“After two months, the State Department Inspector General finally found time to answer two letters I signed regarding his office’s review of email records.  What remarkable timing that his utterly nonresponsive reply arrived on the same day as a report obviously designed to grab headlines and which, once again, the press seemed to have a head start on.

“The report clearly confirms accusations against the OIG of political bias.  What I read in the findings is that the State Department suffers from systemic failures in the way it has handled information over many years, throughout the tenures of several Secretaries of State during Republican and Democratic Administrations.  What I read in the OIG’s rhetoric, however, are vague and recycled accusations targeting Secretary Clinton, a depiction of the entire State Department security and IT infrastructure being duped by one woman with a BlackBerry, and a virtual pass to her predecessors for doing the same thing.

“Perhaps the most remarkable part of this hatchet job is that the only reason the OIG review could go forward was because Secretary Clinton handed over such a huge amount of information, whereas the records from previous Secretaries seem to have vanished into the mists of time.

“With respect to the OIG’s reply to me and my colleagues, I can only presume officials either didn’t see the 13 detailed questions posed, or chose simply to ignore them.  I suppose this is one step better than the Intelligence Community IG, who was not only unresponsive but also hid his reply under the absurd cover of a SECRET-level classification—a remarkable irony considering the problem of chronic overclassification at the heart of this issue.

“Between the OIG’s apparent attitude toward the Congressional Committee that oversees the State Department and a report tailor-made for Secretary Clinton’s political opponents, my doubts about the ability of this office to do its job have only deepened. I had a meeting scheduled in March with Mr. Linick which he cancelled and has not attempted to reschedule.  I hope to hear from him soon.”

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