The Department of Defense (DOD) has ignored a congressional request for an explanation as to why Ariane Tabatabai, a top Pentagon official and member of an Iranian influence network, was hired, according to the House Armed Services Committee (HASC).
Tabatabai is a member of the Iran Experts Initiative (IEI), a network created to bolster Tehran’s global image on a number of initiatives by influencing U.S. and European academics, some of whom ended up working in government roles. The Republican-controlled HASC sent a letter to DOD Secretary Lloyd Austin on Sept. 26 demanding information by Oct. 3 as to how Tabatabai was hired, but the DOD has not provided the requested information, according to Mike Rogers, Republican Alabama Rep. and HASC Chair, who spoke to the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“The Biden administration’s radio silence on Tabatabai’s clearance is deafening,” Rogers told the DCNF on Thursday. “We need a thorough review by the DOD of Ms. Tabatabai’s relationship with her apparent Iranian handlers; how she was granted a security clearance and employment as a senior official overseeing U.S. Special Operations; and whether or not she continues to have access to highly classified information.”
The Department of Defense just blew past the October 3rd deadline.
We need answers on Ariane Tabatabai’s employment, her security clearance, and her relationship with the Iranian regime.
The Iranian regime’s unfettered access to the Biden administration is unacceptable. https://t.co/sAdH2JpCm4
— Armed Services GOP (@HASCRepublicans) October 4, 2023
“It is deeply concerning that the Biden administration appears to have given the Iranian regime unfettered access to our government,” Rogers said.
Chris Maier, U.S. assistant secretary of defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict, confirmed in late September that the DOD had received the letter from the HASC and was “actively looking into whether all law and policy was properly followed in granting my chief of staff [Tabatabai] top secret special-compartmented information.” The DOD missed the October 3rd deadline and provided no new information on Tabatabai, who is still employed at the Pentagon.
The Pentagon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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