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Mystery of missing whiskey bottle from Pompeo meeting remains after watchdog investigation

The missing $20,000 vases were tracked down, but whereabouts of a commemorative gold coin and the bottle of Japanese whiskey remain in question.
Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud welcomes President Donald Trump during a reception ceremony in Riyadh on May 20, 2017.
Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud welcomes President Donald Trump in Riyadh on May 20, 2017.Jonathan Ernst / Reuters file

WASHINGTON — The State Department's inspector general has found some of the gifts worth tens of thousands of dollars that disappeared during the Trump Administration, but some still remain missing.

When the political appointees under the Trump administration departed in January and handed over leadership of the protocol office to career diplomats, they found the gift vault “in a state of disarray,” according to the Office of Inspector General report, with several gifts listed in the vaults inventory nowhere to be found.

As previously reported by NBC News, among the missing gifts was a bottle of Japanese whiskey valued at close to $6,000, a commemorative gold coin worth over $500, eight porcelain and copper vases worth nearly $20,000 and “several bags of monogramed commemorative items, such as pewter trays, marble trinket boxes, and leather portfolios, also purchased for the G7 Summit valued at $680 each.”

There were no security cameras in place to capture who entered and exited the vault but an investigation by the OIG found diplomatic security recorded 77 individuals using a security card to enter the vault more than 3,000 times from Aug. 3, 2020, to Jan. 31.

Many of those individuals have since left government service and therefore the OIG cannot compel their cooperation in the investigation, according to the report.

Pompeo has said he never received the whiskey. "It never got to me," he told Fox News this year. “I have no idea how the State Department lost this thing — although I saw enormous incompetence at the State Department during my time there.”

The $20,000 vases were tracked down in a storage facility, and at the recommendation of the OIG the State Department has adopted new security measures to prevent similar incidents going forward. But the mystery of the missing whiskey, commemorative gold coin and pricey goody bags remains unsolved.

Diplomatic Security has denied a request to install security cameras outside of the vault, according to the report, telling protocol officials that cameras are used in domestic facilities “primarily to protect classified information and systems, rather than to protect property of substantial value."