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Pompeo cleared over US arms sales to Saudi Arabia

August 11, 2020 at 1:06 pm

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) meets with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (R) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on 14 January 2019 [Bandar Algaloud/Anadolu Agency]

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been cleared of any wrongdoing in a controversial arms deal with Saudi Arabia, according to a conclusive report by the office of the State Department’s Acting Inspector General.

Details of the investigation have not yet been released.

The department official who made the announcement yesterday spoke on condition of anonymity and said that the Inspector General’s final report found that Pompeo’s emergency certification on arms sales worth $8.1 billion to Gulf States last year, including Saudi Arabia, did not break the law despite congressional objections. Pompeo was accused of an abuse of power having used an obscure emergency procedure to facilitate the deal.

However, the Inspector General found that the State Department failed to fully assess the humanitarian risks by selling the weapons to the Gulf States.

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The latter have in turn used US-made bombs in the devastating five-year war in Yemen, which has killed thousands of civilians and led to what the UN has called the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.

A spokeswoman for the Inspector General’s office said that the unclassified part of the report would be released to Congress today. It has a large classified section with heavy redactions, US officials have confirmed.

US President Donald Trump abruptly fired the State Department’s then Inspector General Steve Linick in May. He was the fourth government official in such a post ousted by Trump in recent months, Reuters reported. This has raised bipartisan concerns in Congress about the curtailment of oversight.

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