In April 2023, the then-special U.S. envoy for Iran, Robert Malley, was quietly placed on unpaid leave and had his security clearance suspended amid an FBI investigation.

Now, top-ranking Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations and House Foreign Affairs committees are urging the State Department to confirm “troubling allegations” suggesting that Malley downloaded classified documents that were then accessed by a “hostile cyber actor.”

The Tehran Times broke the news in August 2023 that Malley, who was appointed by Biden in 2021, was under federal investigation for allegedly “mishandling” classified documents.

But in a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Sen. James E. Risch, R-Idaho, and Rep. Mike McCaul, R-Texas, said Monday that their own investigations uncovered further details about the allegations against Malley.

The two lawmakers also expressed frustration with the State Department’s “lack of responsiveness” to their requests for information about Malley.

“Due to the Department’s evasiveness and lack of transparency, we have worked to glean information from other sources,” Risch and McCaul wrote in the letter obtained by The Washington Post. “Our own investigations have uncovered the following information and troubling allegations. We ask that you confirm the information we have learned.”

In the letter, the lawmakers claim that Malley “allegedly transferred classified documents to his personal email account and downloaded these documents to his personal cell phone.

“It is unclear to whom he intended to provide these documents,” the letter continues, “but it is believed that a hostile cyber actor was able to gain access to his email and/or phone and obtain the downloaded information.”

Risch and McCaul asked Blinken to confirm their findings and answer additional questions, including if the cyber actor was affiliated with Iran. The Republicans also asked for updates on the FBI and DOJ’s investigations into Malley and if either had recommended criminal charges against Malley.

“These allegations we have ben privy to are extremely troubling and demand immediate answers,” Risch and McCaul wrote. “These allegations have substantial impact on our national security and people should be held accountable swiftly and strongly.”


When asked if Blinken had responded to the letter, a spokesperson for Risch told the Deseret News they did not have anything to add to the letter.

Utah Rep. Curtis on reports of Iran’s influence campaign

In October of last year, House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer wrote a letter to Blinken in which he expressed concerns about “revelations that ... Malley, and members of his negotiating team, may have had compromising ties to the Iranian regime.”

At the time, Republicans in the House and Senate, including Utah Rep. John Curtis, expressed concern about allegations of ties between Malley’s negotiating team and Iran, including an alleged Iranian influence operation in which experts with ties to Tehran sought to influence the U.S. government on “the need for a compromise with Tehran on the nuclear issue,” Semafor reported.

“We’ve got to get to the bottom of that. Totally inappropriate, what seems to be alleged,” the 3rd Congressional District representative told the Deseret News in September. “Now, we want to be careful because we’re still gathering facts, but we cannot tolerate anything of this nature.”

Join the Conversation
Looking for comments?
Find comments in their new home! Click the buttons at the top or within the article to view them — or use the button below for quick access.