Message from Deputy Secretary Sullivan on the Office of Inspector General

September 20, 2017

OIG seal

On September 20, 2017, Deputy Secretary Sullivan sent the below Department-wide email.


The Deputy Secretary of State



Dear Colleagues:

            The Office of Inspector General (OIG) plays a critical role in ensuring accountability by helping prevent and detect fraud, waste, mismanagement, and abuse. OIG operates independently but needs information from posts, bureaus, and offices to do its work. This memorandum reminds all Department officers and employees worldwide to cooperate fully with OIG. Each of you is responsible for providing OIG and its contractors with prompt access to requested materials and information without interference or undue inquiry (for example, without denying or delaying country clearances or pressing for details about OIG investigations). If you have contract or grant management responsibilities, be mindful that Department contractors, subcontractors, and grantees at all levels must also cooperate with OIG in the same manner. 

            Most requested materials may be produced to OIG directly and immediately, but you should advise OIG if specific materials contain classified, privileged, deliberative, or other sensitive materials or if there are materials from outside agencies. Producing materials to OIG does not, however, waive or affect the ability to assert privileges or other protections.

            In addition, the head of any Department bureau, post, or other office must submit to OIG a report of any allegations of waste, fraud, or abuse; criminal or serious misconduct by a senior Department employee; criminal misconduct by a Department employee; and serious noncriminal misconduct by certain Department employees with law enforcement responsibilities. Such reports must be submitted within 5 days of learning of the allegation. 

            OIG itself also has important obligations. In conducting its work, OIG will honor requests for confidentiality to the extent permitted by law, use its best efforts to coordinate with managers and supervisors to avoid disruption, respect segregated sensitive materials, and comport with all other responsibilities under applicable law and Department policies.

            Department employees always have a right to communicate directly with OIG. You do not need permission from anyone. The OIG hotline number is 800-409-9926, and the hotline website is OIG's main website is You may also have important whistleblower rights and protections. OIG's Whistleblower Protection Ombudsman is available to discuss protections against retaliation and how to make a protected disclosure. You may contact the Ombudsman at [email protected]. Further information is available at

            If you have any questions about your obligations regarding OIG or OIG's authorities, you should consult with the Office of Legal Advisor or with OIG directly. 


John Sullivan

Deputy Secretary of State