- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 27, 2013

Under mounting pressure from lawmakers on Capitol Hill, President Obama on Thursday appointed a new inspector general for the State Department — a post that has gone unfilled for more than five years.

The White House confirmed Capitol Hill reports that Steve A. Linick, the inspector general of Federal Housing Finance Agency who had previously investigated white-collar crimes for the Justice Department, will take over as the independent watchdog for the State Department.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce of California said that he was “glad” Mr. Obama had moved to fill the empty post, one of a slew of nominations the White House announced Thursday.

Frustrated by the vacancy at a time when the department faces scandals such as the Benghazi attack, Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, this week vowed to place a hold on all State Department nominations until President Obama picked an inspector general. The oversight position was “crucial” and “should be a priority for an agency facing substantial management challenges,” Mr. Cruz said.

In a rare show of bipartisanship in February, Mr. Royce had been joined by New York Rep. Eliot Engel, the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations panel, in urging the post be filled.

While deputy inspector general Harold W. Geisel has overseen the office at State in recent years, President Obama took more than four years to nominate a permanent replacement to the post.

Mr. Linick previously served as an assistant U.S. attorney in California and Virginia.

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