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Mina Chang: Senior Trump official 'faked Time magazine cover and inflated claims in CV'

Alex Woodward

A senior State Department official’s impressive resume appears to be loaded with exaggerated claims that inflate her credentials and experience, according to reports.

NBC News claims that Mina Chang, a deputy assistant secretary in the State Department's Bureau of Conflict and Stability Operations, also faked an issue of Time magazine with her face on the cover and made false claims about graduating from Harvard University and her appointment to a nonexistent position with the United Nations, among other misleading lines in her State Department biography and LinkedIn experience.

The broadcaster says she also claimed to have testified before Congress and addressed both Republican and Democrat conventions, though there is no evidence to support those claims.

Neither Ms Chang nor the State Department responded to The Independent's requests for comment.

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Prior to her role with the State Department, Ms Chang apparently served as CEO of the nonprofit organisation Linking the World from 2010 to 2019. The IRS revoked the nonprofit foundation's tax-exempt status in May after it had failed to file returns from the previous three years.

Ms Chang reportedly claims the organisation helped build schools across the globe, including in Afghanistan, Myanmar, Haiti and Kenya, but NBC's review of IRS returns from 2014 to 2015 do not include information about building and operating schools, staff, or whether any funding was committed to projects in those countries, it said. Linking the World's 2015 filing does not apparently report any overseas employees despite her claims of large-scale humanitarian aid projects abroad.

In a video on the nonprofit's website, Ms Chang holds up a cover of Time featuring her face. A spokesperson for Time told NBC that the cover was "not authentic."

As deputy secretary, Ms Chang earns a six-figure salary in a bureau with a $6 million budget.

Her State Department biography, which remains unchanged following the NBC News report, includes claims that she is an "alumna" of the Harvard Business School and has undergraduate degrees from Southern Methodist University and the University of the Nations, an unaccredited Christian school with volunteer teachers.

To her more than 42,000 Instagram followers, Ms Chang is a world-travelling humanitarian rubbing elbows with some of Washington's elite, from former President Bill Clinton and retired General David Petraeus to Republican operative Karl Rove and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

Claims about Ms Chang's CV come against a background of dubious career claims from appointed officials, raising questions as to whether the Trump White House is closely vetting candidates for roles in its administration.

Among the record-breaking number of staff exits from the Trump White House, several would-be officials and staffers have been dismissed or removed from consideration after reports suggested a lack of qualifications.

Last year, Ronny Jackson, who was in line as the president's pick for the head of the Department of Veterans Affairs, was revealed to have been drinking on the job as the White House's top doctor, and he reportedly supplied Percocet to a military aide without a prescription.

In August, Texas congressman John Ratcliffe, poised to be the next director of national intelligence, was removed from consideration for the role after several reports revealed he had exaggerated his experience, including overseeing a bust of 300 undocumented immigrants.

Last year, 24-year-old Taylor Weyeneth was fired from the White House after a Washington Post report traced his rapid ascent within the administration despite not having any relevant professional experience.

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