Richard J. Griffin

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Richard Griffin
Richard J. Griffin (38494783764).jpg
Griffin in 2005.
Personal details
Richard Joseph Griffin

(1949-10-09) October 9, 1949 (age 71)
Chicago, Illinois

A resident of Virginia,[1] Richard Joseph Griffin (born October 9, 1949[2] in Chicago, Illinois)[3] was the American Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security, as well as Director of the Office of Foreign Missions with the rank of Ambassador,[4] from June 2005 until November 2007.[2] His early career was with the U.S. Secret Service. He served as the Inspector General in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs from 1997 to 2005 and returned to that office as the Deputy Inspector General in 2008.[5] He resigned in 2015 after becoming Acting Inspector General in 2013.

In 1971, Griffin earned a bachelor's degree in Economics from Xavier University before becoming a Secret Service agent assigned to the Chicago office. He graduated from the National War College in 1983 and received a master's degree in Business Administration from Marymount University in May 1984.[6]

As the Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security appointed by George W. Bush, he was responsible for the department's oversight of private security contractor Blackwater USA, hired to protect U.S. officials in Iraq. The infamous Blackwater Baghdad shootings occurred under his aegis, where 17 civilians, including children, were killed. A critical review by the House Oversight Committee found that his office had failed to properly supervise Blackwater and he subsequently resigned in November 2007.[7]

Just months after this, Griffin was hired at Department of Veterans Affairs as Deputy Inspector General by then-Inspector General George Opfer; the two men were part of a tight-knit community of former Secret Service guards.[8] Here he was the lead investigator looking into long wait times for veterans seeking health care. He is famous for having concluded he was “unable to conclusively assert” that delays at the Phoenix VA Health Care System had caused patients to die.[9]

Opfer resigned in 2013, and Griffin became Acting Inspector General. He continued to face criticism on the wait times affair and on July 6, 2015 was replaced by Linda A. Halliday.


  1. ^ "Nominations Sent to the Senate". 28 April 2005. Retrieved 14 July 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Richard J. Griffin (1949–)". Office of the Historian, U.S. Department of State. Retrieved 12 January 2021.
  3. ^ 1997 Nominations for the U.S. Court of Veterans Appeals, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and the U.S. Department of Labor: Hearing Before the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, United States Senate, One Hundred Fifth Congress, First Session, October 30, 1997. Government Printing Office. 1998. p. 145. ISBN 9780160572333. Retrieved 11 January 2021.
  4. ^ "PN470 — Richard J. Griffin — Department of State". U.S. Congress. 16 June 2005. Retrieved 12 January 2021.
  5. ^ "Deputy Inspector General". 31 December 2011. Archived from the original on 31 December 2011.
  6. ^ "Richard J. Griffin" (PDF). U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. 9 March 2015. Retrieved 11 January 2021.
  7. ^ DeYoung, Karen (25 October 2007). "State Dept. Ousts Its Chief of Security". Washington Post. Retrieved 14 July 2018.
  8. ^ "Head of accountability at VA forced out of previous role for deadly failures". Washington Examiner. 24 April 2015. Retrieved 14 July 2018.
  9. ^ Wax-Thibodeaux, Emily (1 November 2014). "Lead investigator of wait times at Veterans Affairs still gets criticism over report". Washington Post. Retrieved 14 July 2018.
Government offices
Preceded by
Francis X. Taylor
Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security
2005 – 2007
Succeeded by
Gregory B. Starr