The State Department has not publicly announced Klimow’s appointment.
In mid-May, President Donald Trump fired Steve Linick, who had been the State Department inspector general since 2013. The president did so at the behest of Pompeo, making Linick one of several inspectors general the Trump administration has sidelined over objections from Democrats.
Linick’s office happened to be investigating Pompeo on at least two fronts.
One involved Pompeo’s role in facilitating weapons sales to Saudi Arabia despite resistance in Congress. That report raised questions about Pompeo’s declaration of an emergency to push through the sales, though it concluded he ultimately had acted within the boundaries of his authority.
A second, ongoing investigation involves Pompeo and his wife Susan’s use of taxpayer resources, including whether they relied on State Department staffers to run personal errands for them.
Pompeo has insisted he did not know about the latter investigation when he decided Linick had to be fired. In the months since, Pompeo has given several reasons for wanting Linick out, calling him a “bad actor,” alleging he wasn’t a team player and blaming Linick’s office for alleged leaks to the news media.
Linick has said he was stunned to be fired and pointed out that an outside investigation had found no evidence that his office was the source of the leaks. Democrats in Congress are investigating the firing.
Once Linick was pushed out, he was replaced on an acting basis by Stephen Akard, an ally of Vice President Mike Pence. Akard’s appointment raised a number of conflict-of-interest questions, leading him to recuse himself from certain probes. Akard eventually resigned in August.
The inspector general’s office has since been led on an acting basis by Diana Shaw, Linick and Akard’s deputy. Considering the presidential election is only two months away, it was not clear why the Trump administration felt the need to bring in Klimow.
In his note to the inspector general’s staff, Klimow said he is ready to “roll up my sleeves, make decisions, and add value where I can.”
Klimow has held positions at the White House, NATO and with the Joint Chiefs of Staff. His online bio says he was in the Pentagon during the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and that he “remained in the National Military Command Center with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the Secretary of Defense, coordinating the nation’s military response.” Like Pompeo and some of his closest deputies at the State Department, Klimow is a West Point graduate.
According to his May 2019 statement to senators considering his ambassadorial nomination, Klimow’s son Daniel has been a lawyer at the State Department, and his daughter-in-law Beth also has worked there. It wasn’t clear if the two remain in those roles, but if they do, it could raise conflict-of-interest questions.