The State Department has opened an investigation into a campaign of leaks targeting the Trump administration’s top Iran official, including leaks of a non-public inspector general report, according to multiple sources inside the Trump administration and on Capitol Hill who have been briefed on the investigation and the report.
Brian Hook, the special representative for Iran and one of the longest-serving Trump appointees in the administration, has been a focus of an inspector general investigation alleging he engaged in politically motivated staffing decisions involving a career State Department official who worked closely on the Obama administration’s landmark nuclear deal with Iran and other diplomacy with the Islamic Republic.
Details of the IG report centering on Hook were given to the Daily Beast in September, just as Hook was being considered as the White House’s next national security adviser. The timing of this leak has amplified concerns within and outside the State Department that a cadre of anti-Trump voices in the administration is waging an internal campaign to discredit some of Trump’s long-serving appointees.
The report centers on the experience of one official, Sahar Nowrouzzadeh, who was removed from Hook’s staff when he led the Department of Policy Planning and was given a separate State Department assignment. The IG complaint alleges that Hook improperly targeted her, partly because of her work in the Obama administration on the Iran nuclear deal, which President Donald Trump has since reversed. It is unclear whether the report spans beyond Nowrouzzadeh to allege that politically motivated targeting occurred on a broader scope.