John R. Allen leaves the Brookings Institution after a federal investigation into his activities with the Qatari government

John R. Allen leaves the Brookings Institution after a federal investigation into his activities with the Qatari government
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Retired four-star Marine General John R. Allen has resigned as president of the Brookings Institution, one of the world’s most renowned think tanks, after he was placed on administrative leave amid a federal investigation into his alleged lobbying. on behalf of the Government of Qatar. years ago, he announced the firm to employees on Sunday.

The investigation focuses on whether Allen, a military commander who once led US combat forces in Afghanistan, secretly urged the Trump administration to tone down its criticism of Qatar in 2017, when Persian Gulf neighbors imposed economic sanctions on the country, accusing it of supporting Islamist extremism, according to court records. Allen has been placed on leave, Brookings said last week.

In his resignation letter, Allen said he was proud to work for Brookings, an organization he described as “committed to serving the common good of all Americans.”

“While it is with a heavy heart that I leave the institution, I know it is in the best interest of everyone involved at this time,” Allen wrote. “I wish the Board and all members of the Brookings family the best in the difficult days ahead.”

Beau Phillips, a spokesman for Allen, declined to offer additional comment.

Brookings think tank sidelines retired general amid federal investigation

In an email to staff members, Glenn Hutchins and Suzanne Nora Johnson, co-chairs of the Brookings board of trustees, said that Ted Gayer, a leading economic researcher, has taken over as acting chairman.

The note thanks Allen for his “leadership in successfully running the institution during the pandemic” and does not explicitly mention the federal investigation.

“Brookings seeks to maintain high ethical standards in all of its operations,” Hutchins and Nora Johnson wrote in the email, obtained by The Washington Post. “Our policies on investigative independence and integrity reflect these values.”

The Qatari government used to provide significant financial support to the Brookings Institution, according to a recent report by the Associated Press, which described the contents of a search warrant application dated April 15 that included the FBI’s allegations. While Brookings said the organization is no longer funded by the Qatari government, Qatar agreed to donate nearly $15 million to the group in 2013.

Allen met with senior Qatari leaders in 2017, when he was a part-time senior fellow at Brookings. According to police, Allen used his Brookings email address to communicate with Trump administration officials, including then-White House national security adviser Army Lt. Gen. HR McMaster.

Allen offered a “false version of events” in describing the nature of his work in Qatar while speaking with law enforcement officials in 2020, the FBI said. When he was subpoenaed by a grand jury, law enforcement officials added, Allen did not produce emails that were relevant to the case.

Phillips disputed the contents of the search warrant in a statement last week, calling it “truly inaccurate, incomplete and misleading.”

“General Allen has done nothing improper or illegal, has never acted as an agent of Qatar or any foreign government or principal, and has never obstructed justice,” Phillips wrote in a statement. “Through decades of public service in combat and diplomacy, General Allen has earned a sterling reputation unmatched for his honor and integrity. We look forward to correcting the falsehoods about General Allen that have been improperly published in this matter.”

The search warrant application, which appears to have been published in error, says Allen was involved in the arrangement by Richard G. Olson, a former ambassador to the United Arab Emirates who pleaded guilty last week in connection with the secretive campaign. lobbyists and politicians. donor Imaad Zuberi. The effort, according to the documents, was orchestrated to improve Qatar’s image during the diplomatic crisis.

US law requires anyone who lobbies on behalf of other governments to be registered with the Department of Justice.

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Included in the search warrant application is an email that Allen sent to McMaster asking the Trump administration to call on Gulf countries to end blocking vital transit links and “act with restraint.”

In that email, Allen wrote that the Qatari government is “asking for a follow-up signal to the WH or DOS region from a simple statement from the US,” referring to the White House or State Department.

Shortly after that, then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson issued a public call for “calm and thoughtful dialogue,” a dramatic reversal of statements made by then-President Donald Trump days earlier.

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