Report: State Department May Have Interfered With Investigations Of Misconduct

Allegations of wrongdoing and cover-up at Foggy Bottom.

State Dept

CBS News is out today with a report that claims that officials inside the State Department may have interfered with Inspector General investigations of internal misconduct ranging from drug rings to solicitation of prostitutes by an American Ambassador:

Uncovered documents show the U.S. State Department may have covered up allegations of illegal behavior ranging from sexual assaults to an underground drug ring.

CBS News reports that is has unearthed documents from the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), an internal watchdog agency, that implicate the State Department in a series of misconducts worldwide.

The memo, reported by CBS News’ John Miller, cited eight specific examples, including allegations that a State Department security official in Beirut “engaged in sexual assaults” with foreign nationals hired as embassy guards and the charge and that members of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s security detail “engaged prostitutes while on official trips in foreign countries” — a problem the report says was “endemic.”

Former State Department internal investigator Aurelia Fedenisn told CBS News, “We also uncovered several allegations of criminal wrongdoing in cases, some of which never became cases.”

Often times, other DSS agents were simply told to back off of investigations of high-ranking State Department members. Fedenisn told CBS that “hostile intelligence services” allow criminal behavior to continue.

In one such cover-up, investigators were told to stop probing the case of a U.S. ambassador who was suspected of patronizing prostitutes in a public park. The memo states that the ambassador was permitted to return to his post despite having, “routinely ditched…his protective security detail” in order to “solicit sexual favors from prostitutes.”

A draft of the Inspector General’s report on the performance of the Diplomatic Security Service, obtained by CBS News, states, “Hindering such cases calls into question the integrity of the investigative process, can result in counterintelligence vulnerabilities and can allow criminal behavior to continue.”

Another segment of the report mentions the drug ring allegations:

The memo also reveals details about an “underground drug ring” was operating near the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and supplied State Department security contractors with drugs.

Aurelia Fedenisn, a former investigator with the State Department’s internal watchdog agency, the Inspector General, told Miller, “We also uncovered several allegations of criminal wrongdoing in cases, some of which never became cases.”

In such cases, DSS agents told the Inspector General’s inverstigators that senior State Department officials told them to back off, a charge that Fedenisn says is “very” upsetting.

“We were very upset. We expect to see influence, but the degree to which that influence existed and how high up it went, was very disturbing,” she said.

Here’s Miller’s report as broadcast on CBS:

Quite obviously, we’ll need to wait until the Inspector General’s report is released to see what the actual findings are. However, Miller has generally been a reporter with excellent sources who rarely sticks his neck out when reporting on things like this. In either case, even the mere allegation that people inside Foggy Bottom may have been using their influence to protect wrongdoers at various diplomatic outposts around the world around the world is quite serious. Not only is there the fact that wrongdoing, if it occurs, should be dealt with via appropriate disciplinary action and, if necessary criminal charges. There’s also the possibility that these people have been endanger of being compromised and blackmailed by foreign intelligence operatives.

In any case, though, this is likely to be yet another headache for a State Department that has already been under siege over the Benghazi story. As with that matter, I suspect the IG’s report will likely lead to Congressional hearings of some kind, both because of the nature of the allegations and because it is another convenient cudgel that Republicans can use to chip away at both the President and Hillary Clinton. In other words, it looks like we’re headed for one of Washington’s patented summer of Congressional hearings. Whether they actually go anywhere is, of course a completely different question.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Tillman says:

    The memo, reported by CBS News’ John Miller, cited eight specific examples, including allegations that a State Department security official in Beirut “engaged in sexual assaults” with foreign nationals hired as embassy guards and the charge and that members of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s security detail “engaged prostitutes while on official trips in foreign countries” — a problem the report says was “endemic.”

    Oh, for the love of God…

    Who was the politician the Secret Service, or was it just another security detail, was protecting when they decided to hire a bunch of prostitutes? Happened a couple of years ago in South America.

  2. anjin-san says:

    Worse than Watergate!

  3. But remember, the government has rules in place to make sure no one abuses all the data they’re collecting from the phone and internate companies.

  4. Sam Malone says:

    Impeach the affirmative-action President now!!!

  5. Roaring Gnat says:

    From Canada Free Press
    By Marinka Peschmann

    (This is just a segment. You can check out the whole thing at:

    It’s RICO Time!

    You can’t get justice within the political system in America anymore because the politicians own it. What stopped the mob? The Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). What will stop the Obama administration? RICO. From foot soldier to capo, just like the mob, if you are an Obama administration team player, not afraid to get your hands dirty, and an especially good liar, like United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice, you get promoted. Same goes for IRS agents who were also promoted, like Stephen Seok, who signed many of the intimidating letters sent to conservative nonprofits and so forth. It’s RICO time. Today RICO needs to be applied to the political mob that has infiltrated the government agencies and the White House beginning with the IRS and spreading out into other agencies and beyond.

    The best part of RICO is that it “provides for extended criminal penalties and a civil cause of action for acts performed as part of an ongoing criminal organization.” That means State and local lawyers, sheriffs, attorney generals, and prosecutors can bypass the corrupted Federal justice system and start throwing down the gauntlet now. From there it will spread up into D.C. “The RICO Act focuses specifically on racketeering. It allows the leaders of a syndicate to be tried for the crimes which they ordered others to do or assisted them, closing a perceived loophole that allowed someone who told a man to, for example, murder, to be exempt from the trial because he did not actually do it.”

  6. Caj says:

    Here we go again! May have interfered, may being the operative word. Will the word may even be read? No. For some they don’t want to know it may, they want the word have to be used. Makes for another scandal for the GOP to hang their hat on!!!

  7. Dave Schuler says:

    Like the IRS scandals I don’t think there’s any direct White House culpability here. It’s embarrassing and isn’t much of a confidence builder, though.

    I think this, the IRS scandal, the NSA thing, the pay for play stuff at HHS, and the recent allegations about the EPA point to the need for more White House involvement rather than less. There’s really a need for more hands-on management.

  8. Scott O says:

    @Roaring Gnat:
    Reading the Canada Free Press causes brain damage.

  9. Dean says:

    @Dave Schuler: At what point does the Chief Executive Officer take responsibility for what is occurring on his watch?

  10. Tyrell says:

    @Tracie: Can you translate into standard English?

  11. That Other Mike says:

    @Roaring Gnat: You’re very aptly named.

  12. Roaring Gnat says:

    The only brain damage worth noting is when people refuse to recognize their liberties are being eroded, when in their complacency and ignorance they do not use their voice to speak out against the abuses of a government that believes itself above the law. Brain damage is believing that what is happening is okay. It is not.

  13. Roaring Gnat says:

    @That Other Mike: Yes, I do believe I am.

  14. Jeremy says:

    @Dave Schuler:
    On the contrary, what this means is that the government has grown far too unmanageable and needs to be pruned.

  15. That Other Mike says:

    Doug, you may have been infested with spambots. Admittedly, it’s hard to differentiate them from the off-topic ramblings of some of the right-wing nutjobs who hang out here…

  16. Tyrell says:

    We can’t keep up with all of these scandals. Maybe there should be a government agency that is in charge of the scandals.

  17. HarvardLaw92 says:

    LOL, I see that Scandal Watch 2013 continues unabated. Bloviating statement from Issa in 3 … 2 …

  18. Davebo says:

    According to Ronald Reagan and George H. Bush… Never.

    “I hereby pardon Casper Weinberger for all the things he didn’t do that I didn’t know about”.

  19. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    OK, this is how it seems to be:

    When there is major wrongdoing under a Democratic administration, or at least a very high likelihood that there has been major wrongdoing, the scandal must be suppressed so that Republicans can’t find out about it and possibly use it for political gain. If that means that the guilty go unpunished and their wrongs go uncorrected, so be it — For The Good Of The Party.

    That pretty much sum it up?

  20. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    LOL, no. I can sum it up in one sentence:

    If Issa’s investigation has produced anything remotely substantiating the innuendos and maybes that he lobs with regularity, why is he conducting SOME, but not all, of these interviews behind closed doors, and why hasn’t he released any transcripts of those interviews?

    I mean, come on … It should be clear to the even most partisan Republican (and I say that AS a Republican) that this is a witch hunt being conducted for political reasons. We’re heading into an election season, they want to win elections and they want all the ammo (even specious ammo) that they can get towards that purpose.

  21. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @HarvardLaw92: The investigators for the State Department weren’t told to keep it quiet, they were told to shut it down. And the Ambassador to Belgium (who was, coincidentally, also a major Obama donor) is probably very grateful no one’s looking too carefully at his alleged dalliances with hookers — of age or not.

  22. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    And of course, even if it’s authentic, which I have my doubts about, nothing like that has EVER happened before, right?

    Just an aside, but hasn’t CBS been found to have presented fake documents without bothering to authenticate them? I’m sure that I remember something like that happening …

    And didn’t we just read about emails being leaked to ABC and CBS, according to them by Republicans, that subsequently turned out to have been altered and, in one case, fabricated out of thin air?

    Perhaps, in the bullshitocracy that Washington has become, it might be prudent for us to wait for the actual IG report?

    Just saying …

  23. Jenos Idanian says:

    @HarvardLaw92: I’m glad to wait for the actual IG report. Just not wait quietly. This administration has a rather spotty record on how it treats IGs — I recall what happened to Gerald Walpin, the IG for Americorps, when he started snooping around Obama buddy Kevin Johnson over some serious abuse of federal funds.

  24. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    As I recall, Walpin served as the IG for CNCS, whose bipartisan board of directors unanimously requested that the White House review his conduct while in office. That was the last event in what was apparently a string of problems with the guy. Heck, he had Republican appointed US Attorneys filing complaints about him.

    The Obama admin responded to the CNCS board request in terminating Walpin. It didn’t act on its own initiative. He’d been a problem long before Obama ever got sworn into office.