Deputy Secretary of State Randall L. Tobias submitted his resignation Friday, one day after confirming to ABC News that he had been a customer of a Washington, D.C. escort service whose owner has been charged by federal prosecutors with running a prostitution operation.
Tobias, 65, director of U.S. Foreign Assistance and administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), had previously served as the ambassador for the President's Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief.
A State Department press release late Friday afternoon said only he was leaving for "personal reasons."
On Thursday, Tobias told ABC News he had several times called the "Pamela Martin and Associates" escort service "to have gals come over to the condo to give me a massage."
Tobias, who is married, said there had been "no sex," and that recently he had been using another service "with Central Americans" to provide massages.
Tobias' private cell number was among thousands of numbers listed in the telephone records provided to ABC News by Jeane Palfrey, the woman dubbed the "D.C. Madam," who is facing the federal charges.
In an interview to be broadcast on "20/20" next Friday, Palfrey says she intends to call Tobias and a number of her other prominent D.C. clients to testify at her trial.
"I'm sure as heck not going to be going to federal prison for one day, let alone, four to eight years, because I'm shy about bringing in the deputy secretary of whatever," Palfrey told ABC News.
Palfrey maintains she ran a sexual fantasy business that was legal and that if any of the women who were working for her had sex, they did so in violation of her rules and without her knowledge. She says there are a number of other prominent Washington, D.C. men who will be on her witness list. "I'll bring every last one of them in if necessary," Palfrey said.
As the Bush administration's so-called "AIDS czar," Tobias was criticized by some for emphasizing faithfulness and abstinence over condom use to prevent the spread of AIDS.In a 2004 interview, Tobias explained his approach as "A and B and C. . . Abstinence works. 'Be faithful' works. Condoms work. They all have a role. But it's not a multiple choice, where there is only one answer."As a top official overseeing global AIDS funding to other countries, Tobias was responsible for enforcing a U.S. policy, enacted during the Bush administration, that requires recipients to swear they oppose prostitution and sex trafficking. USAID adopted a similar policy in 2004.
At an April 18 speech, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice praised Tobias' work. "Randy Tobias has indeed had many roles in his life, but none more important than the roles he's played in government, where he has been someone who has been most involved in organizing America's compassion to the world."A biography of Tobias was removed from the USAID Web site, but an archived version shows that before joining the State Department, Tobias had been CEO of drug manufacturer Eli Lilly Co. and AT&T Communications and served on the board of trustees for Duke University, including three years as its chair. In 2003, he co-wrote a book on leadership lessons with his son, Todd, entitled, "Put the Moose on the Table." Indiana University, whose publishing arm produced the volume, is also home to the Randall L. Tobias Center for Leadership Excellence.Along with his wife, Marianne, Tobias donated over $100,000 to Republican candidates and political committees, according to the campaign finance Web site OpenSecrets.org. Tobias is the second prominent man to be identified as a customer of the Palfrey's "sexual fantasy service." Two weeks ago, Palfrey alleged that military strategist Harlan K. Ullman, creator of the "shock and awe" combat theory and now a senior associate with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, was also a customer. Ullman has said that the claim was "beneath the dignity of comment."Palfrey is expected to appear in court on Monday, to request permission to replace her criminal defense attorney, currently a federal public defender.
This post has been updated.