Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is continuing to press the Department of Defense (DoD) on questions regarding the alleged retaliatory revocation of a former U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) employee’s security clearance, leading to his eventual departure from the agency in 2019.
Grassley began investigating the circumstances surrounding former USAID employee Dr. Mark Moyar’s security clearance suspension last year, and has yet to receive fulsome cooperation on all requests for information from government agencies, including the Defense Department.
Moyar, a former director at USAID, had his security clearance initially suspended after one or more officials at Special Operations Command (SOCOM) ambiguously alleged that he had leaked classified information in a book Moyar published in 2017. Because Moyar’s work required an active security clearance, USAID informed him that he would no longer be able to perform the duties of his post—leading to his voluntary resignation.
Moyar’s security clearance was eventually reinstated by DoD in July 2020. However, just months later, DoD revoked Dr. Moyar’s security clearance without warning, for seemingly new or different reasons. It is unclear whether DoD revoked Moyar’s security clearance on their own volition, or whether DoD was prompted to revoke it at the request of USAID officials.
“It is perplexing to me that [the Department of Defense] could reinstate someone’s security clearance ‘in error’ after that individual was alleged to have leaked classified information, and then without explanation, revoke that individual’s security clearance for seemingly different or new reasons,” Grassley wrote to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
The Defense Department office charged with prepublication review of books never informed Moyar nor his publisher that his book allegedly contained classified information. This allegation only arose after Moyar had, on multiple occasions, reported several of his subordinates for wasteful, fraudulent, or abusive activities at USAID.
Full text of Grassley’s letter to Austin follows or can be found HERE.
- Grassley Presses USAID, Inspector General On Retaliation Allegations
- Grassley sends follow-up inquiry to USAID on security clearance revocation data
April 13, 2021
VIA ELECTRONIC TRANSMISSION
U.S. Department of Defense
Dear Secretary Austin:
I write to you today to express my concerns about the Department of Defense’s (DoD) apparent lack of cooperation with my investigation into potential whistleblower reprisal against former U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) employee, Dr. Mark Moyar. My office has made repeated requests for information to the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence & Security (OUSD (I&S)), seeking information with respect to DoD’s potential involvement in the revocation of Dr. Mark Moyar’s security clearance, after the DoD Consolidated Adjudications Facility (DoDCAF) reinstated Dr. Moyar’s clearance in July 2020. DoD has made repeated promises to be responsive to my staff’s requests, but continues to fail to deliver on those promises.
My concerns center around the revocation of Dr. Moyar’s security clearance, delivered the same day that I sent letters to USAID and USAID Office of Inspector General, on December 23, 2020, after DoD had already reinstated Dr. Moyar’s security clearance in July 2020. It is unclear who made the decision to revoke Dr. Moyar’s security clearance, why it was revoked, and how DoD came to make the decision to revoke his clearance. It is further unclear whether the decision to revoke Dr. Moyar’s security clearance originated from within DoD, or whether DoD made the decision at the behest of USAID staff. In a USAID response to my office, USAID alleged that an individual at DoD stated that Dr. Moyar’s security clearance was reinstated “in error.”  It is perplexing to me that DoDCAF could reinstate someone’s security clearance “in error” after that individual was alleged to have leaked classified information, and then without explanation, revoke that individual’s security clearance for seemingly different or new reasons.
My office has provided the DoD a Privacy Act Waiver, signed by Dr. Moyar, and your office has concurred that this waiver is sufficient to satisfy my request for the below information. This information is necessary to my investigation into potential whistleblower reprisal against Dr. Moyar. To that end, I reiterate the following request for information, and I ask that DoD respond to this request no later than April 21, 2021.
- Please provide a timeline regarding DoD’s decision-making process with respect to the adjudication of Dr. Moyar’s security clearance, beginning with the initial suspension. Please include documents, communications, and memoranda from both DoDCAF and WHS that substantiate the timeline, if applicable.
- Why did DoDCAF reinstate Dr. Moyar’s security clearance in July 2020?
- What additional information, if any, did DoDCAF consider, review, or receive that led to its decision to revoke Dr. Moyar’s security clearance just months after reinstating it?
- It is my understanding that DoDCAF has refused to provide its justification for reinstating Dr. Moyar’s security clearance in July 2020 to Dr. Moyar’s attorney. It is further my understanding that DoDCAF has refused to comply with Dr. Moyar’s, and his attorney’s, requests for information on the reinstatement, and Dr. Moyar’s attorney has been told that DoD cannot communicate this information because it is internal WHS policy not to.
- Please provide all communications, to include a timeline of communications, with Dr. Moyar’s attorney.
- Please provide the legal justification, if any, on which WHS or DoD is relying to not deliver information to Dr. Moyar or his attorney regarding the reinstatement and subsequent revocation of Dr. Moyar’s security clearance.
5. Has any office in the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA) or WHS ever been advised or instructed to “loss of jurisdiction” (LOJ) Dr. Moyar? Please provide all email communications between WHS and DCSA with respect to Dr. Moyar’s security clearance status.
- If DCSA, or WHS, was advised or instructed to LOJ Dr. Moyar, who advised or instructed DCSA, or WHS, to LOJ Dr. Moyar?
- Is it DoD policy to ever LOJ an individual for any reason?
6. Did any component of WHS ever inform DoDCAF that Dr. Moyar was no longer being considered for appointment at the DoD?
- If so, who made this assertion, and why was this assertion being made?
- Please describe the agency process and rationale to make the determination that Dr. Moyar was no longer in consideration for an appointment despite his appointment being made on December 16, 2020, and the supposed decision that he was no longer in consideration on or about January 21, 2021.
7. Did any individual from USAID ever advise or instruct DoD, WHS, or DoDCAF that Dr. Moyar’s security clearance should be revoked? If so, who at USAID gave this advice or instruction?
8. Did any individual from USAID ever advise or instruct DoD, WHS, or DoDCAF that Dr. Moyar should be LOJ’d? If so, who at USAID gave this advice or instruction and to whom?
9. Did any individual at DoD ever advise or instruct either WHS or DoDCAF that Dr. Moyar should be LOJ’d? If so, who gave this advice or instruction and to whom?
- How did DoD come to the decision to LOJ Dr. Moyar, and why?
10. Is it DoD’s official position that Dr. Moyar’s security clearance was reinstated “in error”?
- If so, who made this error to reinstate Dr. Moyar’s security clearance? And based on what information, or lack thereof, was this error made?
- If so, has DoD ever reinstated any other security clearance in error? How were these errors remedied?
I look forward to DoD’s cooperation with my investigation into alleged whistleblower reprisal against Dr. Moyar. Should you have questions, please contact Quinton Brady of my Committee staff at (202) 224-5225. Thank you for your attention to this important matter.