Robert Malley
Robert MalleyRod Lamkey - CNP/Sipa USA via Reuters Connect

Rep. Michael McCaul, GOP chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is requesting that the State Department provide a detailed description of the allegations against Iran envoy Rob Malley that led to his security clearance being revoked, according to a new letter obtained by CNN on Friday.

“These reports raise serious concerns both regarding Malley’s conduct and whether the State Department misled Congress and the American public,” McCaul wrote in the letter.

“While the suspension of Special Envoy Malley’s clearance is independently troubling, our concern is compounded by the State Department’s failure to respond to the Committee’s efforts to conduct oversight of its negotiations with and policy toward Iran,” he added.

“Senior State Department officials informed the Committee that Special Envoy Malley was unable to testify or brief because he was on personal leave due to the illness of a close family member, for which my staff expressed sympathy. At no point did the Department indicate that Special Envoy Malley’s security clearance was suspended or under review, or that he was being investigated for potential misconduct,” continued McCaul.

McCaul said the Department’s failure to inform Congress of this matter “demonstrates at best a lack of candor, and at worst represents deliberate and potentially unlawful misinformation.”

McCaul specifically asks the department for “all documents and communications referring or related to the review and/or suspension” of Malley and “allegations and/or investigations of potential misconduct against him.”

On Thursday, a US official told CNN that Malley has been placed on leave without pay, after his security clearance was suspended earlier this year amid an investigation into his handling of classified material.

US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller also confirmed that Malley is on leave, adding that Abram Paley is filling in on an acting basis.

"Rob Malley is on leave and Abram Paley is serving as acting Special Envoy for Iran and leading the Department's work in this area," Miller told Reuters in an email.

Malley was appointed special envoy for Iran in January of 2021 and had led the Biden administration's unsuccessful effort to revive the 2015 nuclear deal from which then-US President Donald Trump withdrew in 2018.

Talks between Iran and world powers on reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal have been stalled since September.

At that time, Iran submitted a response to a European Union proposal to revive the deal. A senior Biden administration official said the Iranian response "is not at all encouraging.” A US official later said that the efforts to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal have “hit a wall” because of Iran's insistence on the closure of the UN nuclear watchdog's investigations.

Recent reports indicated that the US and Iran were close to an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program. However, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken this week denied that an agreement had been reached between the Biden administration and the Iranian government on Iran's nuclear program.

"There is no agreement in the offing, even as we continue to be willing to explore diplomatic paths," Blinken said.