The whereabouts of a USD 5,800 bottle of Japanese whiskey that was gifted to former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is baffling the state department which has launched an inquiry into what happened to the expensive booze, according to media reports.
The US Department of State is looking into the whereabouts of the bottle, CNN reported, citing state department filings in the federal register.
The government of Japan gifted the whiskey to Pompeo in 2019, the document says. The department took the unusual step of noting that the whereabouts of the whiskey is unknown. Similar filings over the past two decades make no mention of any similar investigations, The New York Times reported.
The department is looking into the matter and has an ongoing inquiry, the filing said. But it is unclear if Pompeo himself received the whiskey or if a staffer accepted it.
Pompeo said Thursday that he never received the bottle of whiskey and that he had "no idea" it was missing, nor what happened to the gift. "I assume it wasn't ever touched. It never got to me. 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 former secretary of state said during an appearance on Fox News.
"Had it been a case of Diet Coke, I'd have been all over it." Pompeo's lawyer, William Burck, told the Wall Street Journal that the former secretary of state had "no recollection of receiving the bottle of whiskey and does not have any knowledge of what happened to it." American officials can keep gifts that are less than USD 390. But if the officials want to keep gifts that are over that price, they must purchase them. According to the filing, the State Department said the bottle was appraised at USD 5,800, the NYT report said. The whisky matter came to light in the State Department's annual accounting of gifts given to senior US officials by foreign governments and leaders.