The U.S. State Department (still) can’t find a $5,800 whisky bottle
Yup, still missing
Fun fact: the U.S. State Department has, among other things, something it refers to as a ‘gift vault’, which is exactly what you think it is: a vault where the U.S. stores gifts that the Administration receives from other Head of States, Presidents, Prime Ministers and so on.
Back in September, the State Department announced it had launched an investigation because a few things went missing, including a rare coin, valuable porcelain vases and a $5,800 bottle of Japanese whisky.
Then a couple of weeks ago, the State Department’s Inspector General said some of the items had indeed been retrieved but the whisky is still missing.
The bottle of whisky in question was [supposedly] presented to former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as a gift from the Japanese Government but - and this is where the whole thing gets fishy - the New York Times says Pompeo was actually travelling to Saudi Arabia on the day the whisky was presented to State Deparment officials. Pompeo has always maintained that he never got the whisky.
According to the New York Times, government officials are allowed to keep any gift that is worth $390 or less, or they can purchase the item from the Treasury Department if they want. If they keep an item that’s worth more $390 and don’t report it, that actually constitutes a criminal offence, which could result in a hefty fine or even, in some cases, jail time.
During the investigation, the Inspector General found out that over 77 different people had been granted access to the gift vault on over 3,000 occasions between August 3, 2020 and January 31, 2021. The State Department further states that it’s changed the security protocol required to get access to the vault, but it may be too late, like shutting the barn door after the horse has bolted.
What do you think? Will they actually retrieve it? I doubt it.