Steven Alan Linick (/ˈlɪnɪk/ LIN-ik) (born 1963) is an American attorney and career State Department official who served as Inspector General of the Department of State. President Trump removed him from office on May 15, 2020, while he was investigating Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
- At a minimum, Secretary Clinton should have surrendered all emails dealing with Department business before leaving government service and, because she did not do so, she did not comply with the Department's policies that were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act (From Linicks's May 2016 report)
- Quoted in Who is the State Department inspector general briefing Congress today?, By Jennifer Hansler and Devan Cole, CNN (October 2, 2019)
- We want to make sure we get it right... We want it to be accurate and thorough. It’s a top priority for our office...There is evidence that it (unfilled vacancies) has affected staffing, for example, in consular operations. It has affected staffing in bureau of diplomatic security, which obviously affects our security if we have limited staff. It’s affected our IT staff...we have not recovered yet in our civil service staffing levels at this point.... (the hiring freeze’s impact on the existing workforce) does have an impact on morale around the world... Inexperienced staff, insufficient training, staffing gaps and frequent turnover contribute to the department’s other management and performance challenges.
- John Podesta, the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, says there are “serious questions” about the integrity of the State Department Office of Inspector General (OIG). The OIG is locked in an increasingly contentious fight with Clinton’s campaign on a host of issues, including her use of a private email account during her time as secretary of State... source within the OIG contacted The Hill claiming that the office has grown increasingly partisan, accusing it of having an “anti-Clinton” bias. Told by The Hill about the remarks, Podesta described the source as a “whistleblower” whose comments called into question the integrity of the OIG investigations. “This person’s account is highly troubling, and is cause to ask serious questions about the independence of this office,” Podesta said of the source. The Clinton campaign says it does not know the identity of the source. An OIG official strongly disputed the source’s account. “Partisan politics play no role in OIG’s work,” the spokesman said Monday. The source charges that State Inspector General Steve Linick is “excessively deferential” to Emilia DiSanto, the OIG deputy director and a former aide to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa)... The source also charged that Linick is “more or less under her control, possibly out of a desire for a more prestigious appointed position.” ... The OIG spokesman noted that Linick, a two-time appointee of President Obama, was asked by Secretary of State John Kerry last year to investigate how the department handles records management, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and the archiving of emails.
- Clinton chief attacks State Dept. watchdog, by Amie Parnes, The Hill'' (1 March 2016)
- The State Department’s official watchdog is finalizing several investigations into the Trump administration’s alleged mistreatment of its workforce, its top auditor told lawmakers on Thursday. State’s inspector general is wrapping up an 18-month probe into alleged prohibited personnel practices by the department’s political appointees at two different offices. Department whistleblowers told lawmakers in early 2018 they were being assigned to tasks unrelated to their normal, substantive duties because of work they had conducted under the Obama administration.
Investigators have opted to deliver two separate probes, one looking at potential misconduct at the Bureau of International Organizations and the other in the Office of the Secretary, Steve Linick, the IG, told the House Appropriations Committee. Linick opted to separate them so the could deliver the results of the international office investigation to State this week. He expected to complete the probe into the secretary’s office next month. Both reports will be made public after State has the opportunity to review and respond to them.
- Inspector General Steve Linick recommended that the department develop a “corrective action plan” to fix the leadership deficiencies in the bureau. He also recommended that the department consider other moves, including “disciplinary action” against (Kevin) Moley. The State Department has agreed on both counts. Linick has been investigating allegations that Trump appointees had targeted career staffers for political retaliation since spring 2018. His other cases include ones involving the alleged actions of aides to former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. They include one case exposed by Politico in which a career staffer of Iranian descent was ousted from a top policy role. Linick’s investigation grew to cover the international organizations bureau after a June 2018 report in Foreign Policy about (Mari) Stull, whom career staffers accused of deeply hostile behavior, including compiling loyalty lists. The report issued on Thursday is based on thousands of emails and other documents, as well as investigators’ interviews with more than 40 people, including Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is not listed as having been interviewed. “Nearly every employee interviewed by OIG raised concerns about the leadership of IO and the treatment of staff,” the report states.
- Steve Linick, the State Department's inspector general, is set to hold an "urgent" briefing Wednesday with senior congressional staff members after Secretary Mike Pompeo Tuesday accused lawmakers of "intimidating and bullying" State Department officials by calling them for depositions related to the Ukraine inquiry... Although Linick serves at the pleasure of the President, there are safeguards to prevent him from being quickly removed... Linick, who was appointed to his post in September 2013 has a history of serving in oversight positions. At the State Department he oversaw the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server. His May 2016 report on the probe was critical of Clinton, saying the former secretary failed to follow the rules or inform key department staff regarding her use of the private server.
- Linick previously served as inspector general of the Federal Housing Finance Agency from 2010 until 2013. He was also an assistant US attorney in California and Virginia. Linick served as executive director of the Department of Justice's National Procurement Fraud Task Force as well as deputy chief of the fraud section in the DOJ Criminal Division from 2006 to 2010. During his tenure at the Department of Justice, he supervised and participated in white-collar criminal fraud cases involving, among other things, corruption and contract fraud against the U.S. in Iraq and Afghanistan," according to his State Department biography.
- Steve Linick, who was appointed to detect mismanagement at the state department, was fired on Friday. US Democrats have launched an investigation into President Donald Trump's firing of the state department's internal watchdog. Inspector General Steve Linick was investigating Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for suspected abuse of office, reports say. But he was sacked late on Friday after Mr Trump said he no longer commanded his full confidence. The move prompted angry criticism from senior Democrats in Congress. They accused Mr Trump of retaliating against public servants who want to hold his administration to account. Mr Linick was the third official responsible for monitoring government misconduct to be dismissed in recent weeks.
- Let’s be clear: all of these moves are punishment for doing the jobs the law authorizes and requires IGs (inspectors general) to do... This will not end until Congress takes these retaliatory firings seriously. The appointment of a crony of the VP further politicizes jobs that by statute are supposed to be non-partisan. Another important norm defiled.
- Michael Bromwich quoted in Steve Linick: State Department official investigating Pompeo is fired, 'The Guardian (16 May 2020)
- This firing is the outrageous act of a president trying to protect one of his most loyal supporters, the secretary of state, from accountability... I have learned that the Office of the Inspector General had opened an investigation into Secretary Pompeo. Mr Linick’s firing amid such a probe strongly suggests that this is an unlawful act of retaliation.”
- Eliot Engel quoted in Steve Linick: State Department official investigating Pompeo is fired, 'The Guardian (16 May 2020)
- The Trump administration has fired the state department’s inspector general who is reported to have been investigating the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, for a potential abuse of office. The inspector general, Steve Linick, was given notice of his dismissal late on Friday night and is to be replaced by Stephen Akard, a close ally of the vice-president, Mike Pence...
According to a Democratic congressional aide, just before his abrupt dismissal Linick had opened an investigation into allegations that Pompeo had been using a political appointee at the state department to run personal errands for him and his wife, Susan. Linick is the latest in a string of officials in watchdog roles fired by the president in recent months, turning on its head the tradition that such jobs are filled with non-partisan figures... In 2019 a state department whistleblower reportedly alleged that Pompeo had used his security detail to run chores like picking up food and picking up the family dog from the grooming salon. Under US law the president is required to give 30 days’ notice before firing an inspector general, to allow Congress to investigate the reasons for dismissal.
- The assault on the IG is late-stage corruption, and Trump’s kicking down one of the last bulwarks that stand between us and the burgeoning corruption-driven authoritarianism.... Cover it like you’re a foreign correspondent in a collapsing republic. Because you are. (to journalists)
- Walter Shaub quoted in Steve Linick: State Department official investigating Pompeo is fired, 'The Guardian (16 May 2020)