WASHINGTON , The State Department's Internal Watchdog reported Thursday that a bottle of Japanese whisky worth nearly $6,000 that was given to former Secretary Mike Pompeo is still missing.
Inspector General of the department also stated that the "gift vault" in which presents were given to U.S. officials was in "a state in disarray" at the time the Biden administration assumed office in January. The inspector general stated that new controls and safeguards are required to ensure that gifts given to senior U.S. officials can be properly accounted.
The inspector general reported that it could not locate a $5800 bottle of Suntory Hibiki 30-year-old whisky, which was donated to Pompeo in 2019 by the Japanese government, along with a commemorative coin made from 22-karat-gold, worth $560. In August, the Federal Register filed a notice reporting that the items had been reported missing.
It was later discovered that a $20,000 collection of copper and porcelain vases that the U.S. government had purchased as gifts to leaders who were planning to attend the Group of Seven summit, before it was cancelled, were also missing. According to the inspector general, those vases and an unknown number of commemorative G-7 marble trinket boxes, pewter trays, and leather portfolios, valued at $680 each, were found in storage.
It stated in the report that OIG had located the missing vase (all of them in storage, and for which the Department never accepted delivery). OIG could not determine the fate of the other items, such as the whisky and the gold coin. OIG was unable to trace the items due to the absence of an inventory system that would account for the disposition of the items and the lack of security cameras outside of the gift vault.
According to the report, records show that 77 individuals had accessed the vault 3051, between Aug. 3, 2020 and Jan. 31, 2021. The report stated that many of these people had fled the government by the time inspector general started the investigation. They could not be forced to talk about their actions or gain access to the vault.
According to the inspector general's report, the State Department should increase security at the gift vault and decide if security cameras should also be installed in the facility.