US state department official quits amid ‘inflated CV’ claims

Mina Chang. Photo: November 2017

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Mina Chang says she was “unfairly maligned”

A senior US state department official has resigned amid reports she filled up her CV with false claims about her education and professional background.

Mina Chang was accused by US media of claiming a non-existent university degree and creating a fake Time magazine cover with her face on it.

Ms Chang, 35, was deputy assistant secretary for the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations (CSO).

In her resignation letter, she denied all the allegations.

Ms Chang also said she had been “unfairly maligned, unprotected by my superiors, and exposed to a media with an insatiable desire for gossip and scandal, genuine or otherwise”.

What is Mina Chang accused of?

NBC News reported last week that Ms Chang had inflated her educational achievements and exaggerated the scope of her non-profit work.

It said that an NBC News investigation had found that Ms Chang:

  • Created a fake Time magazine cover with her face on it
  • Claimed a non-existent degree from the University of Hawaii
  • Invented a role on a United Nations panel
  • Claimed to have addressed both the Democratic and the Republican national conventions

Footage has emerged back from 2017, where Ms Chang is interviewed and the fake Time magazine cover is shown.

US media say the scandal has raised questions about the Trump administration’s vetting process.

Ms Chang took her post at the CSO in April, and US media report that before the row she was being considered for a more important government position managing a budget of more than $1bn (£772m).

How did she respond?

Ms Chang denied all the allegations in her resignation letter on Monday.

In the letter, obtained and published by CNN, she wrote: “A character assassination based solely on innuendo was launched against me attacking my credentials and character. This was not an accident.

“Despite answering every question put to me by a reporter and offering a detailed rebuttal, my superiors at the department refused to defend me, stand up for the truth or allow me to answer the false charges against me.

“Today, the politics of division and personal destruction are at their very worst, and I have found myself in the crosscurrents of that very division.

“It is essential that my resignation be seen as a protest and not as surrender, because I will not surrender my commitment to serve, my fidelity to the truth or my love of country.”

She described the current environment at the state department as “toxic”, saying the organisation was experiencing “the worst and most profound moral crisis”.

The state department has so far made no public comments on the issue.

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