Michael Pack, the chief executive officer of the U.S. Agency for Global Media that oversees official U.S. foreign broadcasters, resigned on Wednesday.
Mr. Pack was asked by the incoming administration of President Biden to step down, despite having a three-year contract beginning in June 2020 as the first Senate-confirmed chief of the media agency.
“Every president has the right to staff the several thousand political positions available to an administration,” Mr. Pack said in his resignation letter.
“However, the U.S. Agency for Global Media is an independent federal agency, and the person nominated by the executive branch and confirmed by the legislative branch to manage and oversee it is appointed to a three-year term,” he stated. “That means that the leadership of U.S. civilian international broadcasting is meant to be nonpartisan, untethered to alternations in the political regime.”
Mr. Pack came under fire from Congress for dismissing the leaders of official and unofficial government broadcasting outlets, including Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Asia and others. A lawsuit challenging the dismissals is ongoing.
Mr. Pack said he has focused his time at the agency on “reorienting the agency toward its mission and solving its notorious range of problems.”
Those problems included what critics saw as anti-American bias, security lapses and corruption among senior officials.
“I have sought, above all, to help the agency share America’s story with the world objectively and without bias. I had no political agenda coming into USAGM, and I still do not have one,”
Mr. Pack said, adding that it was “disheartening” that his dismissal was requested.
“This will long be viewed as a partisan act that harmed an office designed to serve the American people and the national interest,” Mr. Pack said.
“I continue to admire and praise USAGM’s journalists who bring truth to international audiences in the face of even the gravest risks,” he said. “They are heroes. I wish nothing but the best for USAGM.”