Update 1:37 pm PST: Mid-day on Friday, CNN reports: After more than 48 hours of silence, Pompeo says State will investigate possible surveillance of ex-US ambassador
On January 14, we blogged about the Parnas documents indicating a possible surveillance of Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch while she was posted as U.S. Ambassador to Kyiv (see Parnas Materials: Surveillance of Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch in Kyiv).
According to NBC News reporter Josh Lederman, Robert F. Hyde reportedly dismissed the Parnas texts as “colorful texts” from when they’d “had a few pops way back when I used to drink” (see). When asked about Hyde’s claims of tracking Ambassador Yovanovitch, Lev Parnas in his first TV interview also said, “Well, I don’t believe it’s true.” He added, “I think he was either drunk or he was trying to make himself bigger than he was, so I didn’t take it seriously.”
Since we have not heard anything from the State Department or Secretary Pompeo, are we to understand that the State Department is just taking their words that they’re joking around or drunk as claimed in their worrisome exchange? Given subsequent reporting on the Hyde character, that’s possible, of course. But if there was something there, anyone really expect that these individuals would admit to some nefarious intent publicly?
On January 16, Ukraine’s Ministry of Interior announced that it opened an investigation on the possible surveillance:
Ukraine’s position is not to interfere in the domestic affairs of the United States of America. However, the published references cited contain a possible violation of the law of Ukraine and the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which protects the rights of a diplomat on the territory of the foreign country.
Ukraine cannot ignore such illegal activities on the territory of its own state.
Also on January 16, NBC News reported that the FBI paid a visits to Republican congressional candidate Robert Hyde’s Connecticut home and business. FBI spokesperson told The Hill, “There is no further information that can be shared at this time.” But as former DOJ staffer Matthew Miller points out, DOJ has had these messages for months. They’re investigating this claimed surveillance just now.
As of this writing, neither Pompeo nor the State Department has released any statement of concern on the possibility that one of its ambassadors was under surveillance for unknown reasons by people directly connected to Rudy Giuliani, the shadow secretary of state.
When State officials and Pompeo talk about protecting and supporting our diplomats in their town halls and chitchats, do they still say that loud with straight faces? Really, we’re curious.
It is without precedent (in my 20 years of doing this) and profoundly disappointing and disturbing that the @StateDept has been unable to come up with any kind of public response to alleged threats against a #US ambassador.
— Matt Lee (@APDiploWriter) January 16, 2020
“#Ukraine opens probe into possible surveillance of #US ambassador” https://t.co/VH0xmpD5nb
— Matt Lee (@APDiploWriter) January 16, 2020
Asked about his own texts with Parnas last March which suggested he provided Parnas with a security detail while he was in Kyiv, Avakov declined to answer. “No comments,” he said through a spokesperson. https://t.co/uNJPOQwIJk
— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) January 16, 2020
@SecPompeo has maintained silence as new evidence has emerged suggesting the former US amb. to Ukraine was surveilled before being forced out, @jmhansler lays it outhttps://t.co/TC8w9uyrEC
— CNN NationalSecurity (@NatSecCNN) January 16, 2020
The State Department hasn't replied to multiple questions about the possibility Marie Yovanotich was under surveillance. They aren't commenting on whether they'll cooperate with Ukraine's investigation, whether they'll open their own investigation, or even addressing it at all.
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) January 16, 2020
What I find indefensible is that the State Department has not said a single word in defense of Ambassador Masha Yovanovitch 24 hours after the story broke that she might have been under surveillance in Kiev. Where is its leadership? https://t.co/zRupRmjJhl
— Nicholas Burns (@RNicholasBurns) January 16, 2020
DOJ has had those messages in its possession for months. It suddenly discovered the need to investigate them now, after they were released publicly and there was an outcry? https://t.co/swM9F5pKnr
— Matthew Miller (@matthewamiller) January 16, 2020
Donald J. Trump and Robert Hyde. pic.twitter.com/S5x8cmYw42
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) January 14, 2020
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