December 8, 2022

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Brookings think tank places retired general on leave amid FBI probe

The prestigious Brookings Establishment put its president, retired 4-star Maritime Gen. John Allen, on administrative go away Wednesday amid a federal investigation into his job in an unlawful lobbying marketing campaign on behalf of the rich Persian Gulf nation of Qatar.

Brookings’ announcement came a working day after The Associated Press claimed on new court docket filings that display the FBI lately seized Allen’s digital info as portion of the probe and comprehensive his behind-the scenes initiatives to assist Qatar influence U.S. coverage in 2017 when a diplomatic crisis erupted involving the fuel-prosperous monarchy and its neighbors.

Allen, who led U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan ahead of currently being tapped to guide Brookings in late 2017, has not been charged with any crimes. His spokesman, Beau Phillips, reported Wednesday that Allen had accomplished absolutely nothing incorrect or unlawful.

“By means of a long time of community assistance in combat and diplomacy, Normal Allen has earned an unmatched, sterling name for honor and integrity,” Phillips mentioned in a assertion. “We appear forward to correcting the falsehoods about General Allen that have been improperly publicized in this make any difference.”

Brookings explained to staffers in an email Wednesday that the institute alone is not beneath investigation and that the imagine tank’s govt vice president, Ted Gayer, will provide as performing president.

“We have just about every self esteem in the Brookings team’s potential to continue to be concentrated on delivering top quality, independence, and influence,” the electronic mail claimed.

Brookings pays Allen additional than $1 million a calendar year, according to its most recently obtainable tax information. The email to staff did not say no matter if Allen would keep on to be paid out whilst on leave.

The federal investigation involving Allen has previously ensnared Richard G. Olson, a previous ambassador to the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan who pleaded responsible to federal charges last 7 days, and Imaad Zuberi, a prolific political donor now serving a 12-12 months jail sentence on corruption fees. A number of users of Congress have also been interviewed.

An FBI agent claimed in an affidavit in aid of a look for warrant there was “significant proof” that Allen experienced knowingly damaged a foreign lobbying regulation, and experienced produced false statements and withheld “incriminating” documents.

Allen’s powering-the-scenes get the job done involved traveling to Qatar and meeting with the country’s prime officials to supply them assistance on how to influence U.S. policy, as perfectly as advertising and marketing Qatar’s issue of watch to top rated White Residence officers and Congress, according to the FBI affidavit.

The Qatar Embassy did not quickly reply to a ask for for remark.

Brookings is a single of the most influential imagine thanks in the U.S. and has extended experienced robust ties to Qatar. In 2007, the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs agreed to fund a Brookings-backed offshoot in Qatar termed the Brookings Doha Centre.

The Qatari federal government mentioned in a 2012 information release that the center’s purpose bundled “reflecting the dazzling impression of Qatar in the worldwide media, specially the American types,” according to a New York Times report that confirmed Qatar experienced given Brookings $14.4 million in donations above a four-calendar year span.

As a nonprofit, Brookings does not have to disclose its donations but it voluntarily discloses some info. Its annual stories present Qatar offering at least $2 million a 12 months from 2016 to 2021.

Brookings stated in a assertion that Allen determined in 2019 to prevent taking any new donations from Qatar and to close the Brookings Doha Middle.

“Brookings has strong insurance policies in location to prohibit donors from directing exploration activities,” stated the e mail to staffers Wednesday.