Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sent a scathing letter Thursday to House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, D-NY, assuring him that if he wants to take an active role in pursuing his requested investigation into former State Department Inspector General Steve Linick’s dismissal, he will have the State Department’s full transparency.
The letter comes shortly after Engel declined to speak with Deputy Secretary of State Steve Biegun, who wanted to provide him with the information he needed to proceed with his probe. Linick was removed from his post after a Defense Department investigation discovered that he had sent work emails – containing sensitive information – to his personal account regarding Brian Hook, the State Department’s top Iran official. It appears that Linick was probing the Trump administration’s actions on Iran, according to the investigation.
“You and I share a responsibility to ensure the American people have the full truth about former State Department Inspector General Steve Linick,” Pompeo wrote. “I hear you’ve been busy in your District, so let me get you up to speed on what’s been going on with your Committee.”
“Two weeks ago, we offered for Under Secretary of State for Management Brian Bulatao to speak with you and all Members of your Committee. 2 This week, Deputy Secretary of State Steve Biegun asked to have a call with you to discuss our offer and how to provide you the information you seek.”
Pompeo added, “Last night, your staff informed us you personally declined to speak to both Mr. Bulatao and Mr. Biegun. Instead, you asked your staff to have this conversation on your behalf. As you stated in your June 10 press release, if ‘State Department officials want to refute Mr. Linick’s account, they can do so.’ That is precisely what we‘ve been attempting to do.”
Democrats jumped on Linick’s dismissal, saying Pompeo didn’t want Linick to do his job over allegations of misconduct between himself and his own staff.
In his letter, Pompeo offered Under Secretary Bulatao “to voluntarily testify at a public hearing before the full House Committee on Foreign Affairs. If you, Mr. Chairman, want to hear the ‘answer[s to] critical questions about why President Trump fired Mr. Linick at the request of Secretary Pompeo,’ Mr. Bulatao is prepared to unambiguously refute your incorrect accusations at a hearing on June 22 or 23 – in the morning, afternoon, or evening.”
Pompeo continued, “Please let the Deputy Secretary know if you want to afford your Members this opportunity by returning his phone call at your earliest convenience. An email from your staff will not suffice.”
Man, @SecPompeo doesn't hold back in this letter to Engel about Linick:
"I hear you've been busy in your district, so let me get you up to speed on what's been going on in your committee." pic.twitter.com/rXmmy4HcWb
— Nate Madden (@NateOnTheHill) June 12, 2020
Pompeo also attached multiple letters previously sent to Engel asserting that he spread misinformation regarding the reason for Linick’s firing.
“I regret that you, someone for whom I have great respect, have let your staff take over this historically significant, non-partisan Committee. Please find enclosed the Department’s response to your ‘investigation,'” Pompeo concluded.
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Health Industry Distributors’ Association: Supply Chain Delays ‘A Healthcare Issue’
The Health Industry Distributors’ Association (HIDA) released harrowing data stating “Transportation Delays Are A Healthcare Issue.” HIDA’s December release states, “research estimates that approximately 8,000-12,000 containers of critical medical supplies are delayed an average of up to 37 days throughout the transportation system.”
The statement continues, “The West Coast port with the greatest number of delayed medical containers are the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. The most congested East Coast port is the Port of Savannah.”
An infographic is accompanied with the statement which breaks down the crisis further. 17 is the average number of days the shipments are delayed at the Port. There’s an 11 day average delay by rail, and a 9 day average delay by truck.
In those shipping containers, the infographic states 187,000 gowns, 360,000 syringes and 3.5 million surgical gloves are held. The ports with the most medical delayed supplies are Los Angeles/Long Beach, Savannah, New York/New Jersey, Charleston, Seattle, Oakland, Boston, Baltimore and Houston.
Axios reports under a “Why it matters” headline, that “Per their projections, medical supplies arriving at a U.S. port on Christmas Day won’t be delivered to hospitals and other care settings until February 2022.”
As a result, “that could delay critical supplies at a time when health care is already expected to most need them due to surges from Delta and Omicron.”
Additionally, “The supply chain problems can compound, starting with medical supplies languishing in U.S. ports for an average of 17 days, officials said.”
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