Washington, Jan. 15, 2020—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today demanded documents from the Department of State connected to recently revealed records suggesting surveilling of and threats to the security of Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch before she was recalled from the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine. Documents disclosed yesterday as evidence in the impeachment of President Trump included a series of text messages between Mr. Parnas and Trump donor and congressional candidate Robert Hyde. Messages from Mr. Hyde suggested he had a source with knowledge of Ambassador Yovanovitch’s location, movements, security, and technology use.
In a letter to Under Secretary of State Brian Bulatao, Chairman Engel wrote, “Mr. Hyde claimed in one message to have ‘a person inside,’ presumably in the U.S. embassy in Kyiv, who is ‘willing to help if we/you would like a price.’ The strong implication from these messages is that someone with detailed knowledge of the Ambassador’s whereabouts and security protocols was providing that information in real time to Mr. Hyde and Mr. Parnas. I cannot overstate the profound security risk that this poses to the U.S. mission and our interests in Ukraine.”
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After reviewing the records turned over by Mr. Parnas, the Foreign Affairs Committee staff contacted the State Department Bureau of Diplomatic Security to bring the information to bureau officials and seek assurances that all appropriate steps are being taken to ensure the security of Ambassador Yovanovitch or Embassy Kyiv.
“I share the Department’s deep resolve that the safety and security of our diplomats is of paramount importance. Given the profound risks that these new revelations expose, it is imperative that Congress be fully informed about the threats against Ambassador Yovanovitch and the Department’s response to them, in order to perform its Constitutionally mandated oversight function and to determine any legislative responses necessary to mitigate such threats in the future,” wrote Chairman Engel.