Bronx, NY—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, this evening made the following statement regarding the suspension of several United States Agency for Global Media officials:

“Michael Pack is once again attempting to purge USAGM of the apolitical, career officials who have helped ensure that the agency fulfills its mission to provide unbiased news and information around the world. He is destroying the decades-old legacy of America’s international broadcasting efforts in a clear attempt to transform the agency into an ideological mouthpiece to promote Donald Trump in advance of the election. And, despicably, he or someone in his inner circle leaked the names of career individuals to the New York Post as he was in the process of sidelining them.

“Tonight’s actions smack of illegal retaliation. I understand that a number of the individuals who have been relieved had tried to make agency leadership aware of potentially inappropriate or unlawful actions during Mr. Pack’s first months in his position. Just last night, one of these individuals raised grave concerns to Mr. Pack’s inner circle about the way he’s running the agency. Mr. Pack’s response—firing the career officials who aim to carefully follow the law and then slandering their good names—shows consciousness of guilt. It is a clear attempt to cover up his wrongdoing to date and to silence those who might voice concern about his future actions. I intend to get answers and I will also ask the Office of Inspector General to launch a probe.

“The United States is not a dictatorship, and I will not stand by as Donald Trump tries to create a Soviet Tass or Chinese Xinhua government mouthpiece through his henchman, Michael Pack.

“Senior USAGM leadership is scheduled to brief congressional staff tomorrow morning. We will seek more details at that time. Additionally, Mr. Pack has agreed to testify before the Committee on Foreign Affairs on September 24. I intend to hold him to that commitment and he will be expected to explain this and his other outrageous actions since he took control of USAGM.”

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