Matthew Klimow, the US ambassador to Turkmenistan, was appointed by President Donald Trump and his appointment took effect on Monday, the State Department Office of Inspector General confirmed to CNN. Klimow is planning to return to Turkmenistan at the end of the year, the office said.
“The Department of State appreciates Ambassador Klimow coming back to Washington, D.C. to fulfill the role of the Acting Inspector General until the end of 2020,” a State Department spokesperson said Thursday.
Two congressional aides also said they were informed Klimow had been named to the role. One of those aides said there is a perception that he is close to senior officials at the department.
Klimow, a career civil servant, was a senior adviser in the Office of the Under Secretary for Management immediately prior to his post as ambassador. He also served in other roles at the State Department and the White House and in the military. Klimow’s son is an attorney at the State Department, according to his biography.
Politico was first to report that Klimow had been named as acting inspector general.
The watchdog agency has been without a Senate-confirmed inspector general since Linick was fired at Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s behest late in the evening on May 15.
The acting inspector general named to replace Linick, Stephen Akard, resigned in early August. Deputy Inspector General Diana Shaw has been serving in the role in the interim.
The top US diplomat’s push to jettison Linick is under investigation by congressional Democrats. As part of that probe, Linick testified in early June that his office was looking into five matters of potential wrongdoing at the State Department, including potential misuse of taxpayer resources and emergency arms sales to Gulf allies.
The report on the latter was released last month and found that the agency had complied with legal requirements in declaring an emergency to sell billions of dollars in arms to Gulf allies but did not fully assess the risks to civilians associated with that sale.
Pompeo has repeatedly denied that Linick’s ouster was retaliatory and rebuked Democratic lawmakers, including House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel of New York, over the probe. Last month, Pompeo told Engel he had instructed State Department officials subpoenaed as part of the investigation “not to appear for the noticed depositions, until a mutually acceptable accommodation can be reached.”
Last week, Engel announced that his committee was moving to hold Pompeo in contempt of Congress for repeatedly refusing to comply with subpoenas of records related to “his transparently political misuse of Department resources.”