The senior Trump administration official resigned from her job at the State Department, barely two and a half hours after NBC News sought to clarify newly discovered false claims she had made about her charity work.
Chang also misrepresented a trip to Afghanistan as a humanitarian mission and listed an academic who said he never worked for her nonprofit as a staffer, according to the network.
Chang denied all the allegations.
“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 wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in her resignation letter.
“Indeed, I intend to fight for those things as a citizen in the days and years to come.”
Adding that 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.”
Chang allegedly made up a role on a UN panel and claimed she had addressed both the Democratic and the Republican national conventions, according to NBC News.
Chang, who assumed her post in April, was being considered for an even bigger government job with a budget of over $1 billion until Congress began asking questions about her résumé.
Chang had painted her 2015 trip to Afghanistan as a humanitarian mission for her charity, Linking the World, but a defense contractor paid the bill and no aid was delivered, NBC News reported, citing documents from the company and a former employee.
After her trip, Chang posted photos of herself meeting a group of Afghan women in a room. In a video posted on her charity’s website, she refers to the image and claims the women are “in hiding” at a secret location.
“This is in Afghanistan, I am sitting with women in our program, they are living in hiding. I can only say they are right outside of the Kabul area,” Chang says in an interview posted on her nonprofit’s website.
But the women were actually the wives of local employees of the defense contractor that paid for her trip, Automotive Management Services, and had not been in hiding, a former employee told the network.
“They were photo-ops,” the former worker said of Chang’s trip to Afghanistan and another one to Iraq.
On her charity’s website, Chang posted pictures from the Afghanistan trip, without saying the defense contractor footed the bill for the visit and that her nonprofit conducted no aid work during the visit.
Mina Chang’s also embellished her profile with this fake Time magazine cover while seeking the State Dept job
In an email to NBC News, Chang said her group was helping the defense contractor “create shared value” in Afghanistan.
“Our work was not ‘humanitarian aid,’ it was to help a company with critical presence on the ground incorporate [creating shared value] into their business model,” she said.
Linking the World lists in its promotional material a “chief data scientist,” Michel Leonard, an adjunct professor at NYU and Columbia, says “I was never an employee of this organization.”
Chang also denied creating or commissioning the fake Time cover, which appeared onscreen with her during a 2017 interview in which she discussed effort to suppress the influence of groups such as ISIS and Boko Haram.
When the show’s host suggested that they “take a look at some pictures you brought with you of your work around the world,” the magazine cover flashed across the screen with a headline reading, “We change the world: Modern humanitarian in the digital age.”
“Here you are on Time magazine, congratulations,” host Mary Sit said, the Washington Post reports.
“Tell me about this cover and how this came to be.”
Chang explained that her group used “drone technology in disaster response,” adding, “I suppose I brought some attention to that.”
But Chang who claimed she hadn’t brought the magazine cover with her that day, said she was “surprised by its appearance during the interview,” adding she “should have taken the opportunity to clarify” that it was not real.
Mina Chang reportedly attended Harvard for an eight-week course known as the “Advanced Management Program,” but added it to her State Dept bio as having completed the school’s master of business administration degree
In her State Department bio, Chang also claimed that she is “an alumna of the Harvard Business School.” The school acknowledged Chang attended an eight-week course known as the “Advanced Management Program,” not the Harvard Business School’s prestigious program.
Chang claimed she never professed to have a degree from the school. She also defended her assertion that she spoke to both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions in 2016, but she did not appear at convention-sponsored events.
She addressed the Global Oval, an international affairs policy summit convened during both conventions in the cities where they were held, according to the newspaper.