A senior Trump administration official has been caught embellishing her résumé, going as far as photoshopping her face onto a fake Time magazine cover and inventing a position on a United Nations panel.
Mina Chang, 35, the deputy assistant secretary at the State Department’s Bureau of Conflict and Stability Operations, has made multiple false claims and exaggerated her educational and professional achievements, according to an NBC News investigation.
Among the list of misleading claims made in her official biography on the U.S. Department of State website includes her being an “alumna” of Harvard Business School and a “graduate” of a program at the Army War College.
It turns out that Chang does not hold a degree from Harvard and only attended a seven-week course at the institution in 2016. Similarly, the program at the Army War College was a mere four-day seminar on national security, as confirmed by the college.
In a video published in 2014, Chang described the work of her Dallas-based nonprofit called Linking the World, telling college students, “Linking the World provides hunger relief, medical aid… We have operated schools, we have built schools in places like Afghanistan, Myanmar, Haiti, Kenya.”
Upon closer examination of the organization’s IRS returns from 2014 and 2015, NBC found “no information about operating or building schools, and offers no details about staff devoted to managing aid projects on the ground in those countries.”
In May, the IRS revoked the nonprofit’s tax-exempt status over failing to file its annual filings for three years. Despite this fact, Linking the World is still collecting donations on its website.
In a 2017 interview, Chang once again spoke about her position as CEO of Linking the World and reportedly brought in the Time magazine cover herself, to serve as an example of her work. However, when NBC reached out to Time, spokesperson Kristin Matzen confirmed that the cover is “not authentic.”
Chang’s biography also states that she was “Appointed by the United Nations to serve on the Expert Panel for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in Humanitarian Response,” but no record could be found to back up this claim.
While Chang has no direct ties with President Trump, Brian Bulatao — Under Secretary of State for Management, and a friend of Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State — is said to have been invited to fundraising events for her charity, where he donated $5,500, according to the former chief of staff of her nonprofit.
In 2018, she was up for a senior government position, overseeing the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in Asia with a budget of over $1 billion. Chang’s nomination needed to be confirmed by the Senate, which withdrew it on Sept. 9 after the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations asked for more information about her nonprofit and work experience.
This new information has been raising questions regarding Chang’s qualifications to hold a top position for the State Department and the six-figure salary that comes with it.
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“It does seem that this administration has not been doing the same depth of vetting as previous administrations,” James Pfiffner, a professor at George Mason University told NBC. In fact, this is certainly not the first time the White House has failed to properly vet nominees since Trump took office.
Most recently, Trump withdrew nominee Rep. John Ratcliffe for director of national intelligence after questions were raised regarding the accuracy of his résumé and qualifications.
In defense, Trump told reporters, “If you take a look at it, the vetting process for the White House is very good. But you’re part of the vetting process, you know? I give out a name to the press, and they vet for me. We save a lot of money that way.”
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Dr. Robert Gates, fmr. Secretary of Defense, Deputy National Security Advisor, Director Central Intelligence Agency serving eight presidents of both political parties. We had a one on one lunch and discussed the importance of civil-military programs, the people and politics of Afghanistan, Iraq and the role that NGOs play in foreign policy and intervention.
New Jersey Senator and ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Bob Menendez told NBC that the Trump administration has been repeatedly failing in their jobs to screen candidates, ultimately forcing the committee staff “to dedicate a significant amount of time and resources on vetting this administration’s nominees because of the White House’s negligence or incompetence.”
“These jobs aren’t a joke — there are billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars and the lives of U.S. citizens on the line here,” he added.