A brewing scandal that potentially suggests some degree of State Department mismanagement during Hillary Clinton’s tenure could hurt not only her legacy, but also prospects for a 2016 presidential bid, some say. Others just say prosecution(s) are in order.
Photo: As (obvious) recent face work has been completed, a Twitter account has been opened, and the image rebuilding process is underway for another Hillary Clinton run for the presidency (2016), the State Department and Ms. Hillary’s record continues to implode.
By Marion Algier – AskMarion
The latest scandal and cover-up, which we will call State Dept-gate for now, started with a State Department memo alleging involvement with prostitution and drugs.
The timeline surrounding the allegations in said memo places the incidents during former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's tenure, opening the possibility that a widening scandal might taint both her record and her possible political aspirations. Clinton has also taken heat for the department's response to the September 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, but has managed to avoid intense scrutiny or prosecution, at least thus far.
Hillary Clinton's new Twitter page
Having just opened a Twitter account, Hillary Clinton Tweets the future is 'TBD' Some would respond to that with… “Only if the American people and the Congress are stupid will there be anything to announce but jail time or a private life!
The memo itself, purportedly written by Ambassador Larry Dinger, describes some of the information as coming from office chatter.
Hillary Photo (on a good day): Prior to recent ‘image rebuild’ project
"Sometimes the sources are one or more agents who became aware of the case from colleagues in what, given cubicles, can be a collegial environment," the memo says.
Regarding the latest allegations, supported by documents provided to CNN by a lawyer for a whistle-blower who is a former senior inspector general investigator, they include:
• An active U.S. ambassador "routinely ditched his protective security detail in order to solicit sexual favors from both prostitutes and minor children," the memo says. The ambassador's protective detail and others "were well aware of the behavior," the memo asserts. When a diplomatic security officer tried to investigate, undersecretary of state for management Patrick Kennedy allegedly ordered the investigator "not to open a formal investigation."
On Tuesday, CNN obtained a statement from the ambassador, who vigorously denied the allegations, calling them "baseless."
A source close to the investigation of the ambassador told CNN that the ambassador's security detail reported to the inspector general that the ambassador would leave his house at night without notifying the detail. The detail followed the ambassador and saw the ambassador once go to a park that's known for illegal activity, the source told CNN. The detail said they never witnessed the ambassador engage in any sexual activity, the source said.
The ambassador went to Washington and was asked what he was doing and he denied any wrongdoing, the source told CNN. The ambassador explained that sometimes he fights with his wife, needs air and he goes for a walk in the park because he likes it.
Kennedy also issued a statement Tuesday, saying it is his responsibility "to make sure the department and all of our employees -- no matter their rank -- are held to the highest standard, and I have never once interfered, nor would I condone interfering, in any investigation."
• A State Department security official in Beirut allegedly "engaged in sexual assaults" against foreign nationals working as embassy guards. The security official, the Office of the Inspector General says, was also accused of committing "similar assaults during assignments in Baghdad, and possibly Khartoum and Monrovia." The office's memo says that an inspector general's investigator who went to Beirut to try to conduct an investigation was not given enough time to complete the job.
• A member of Clinton's security detail allegedly "engaged prostitutes while on official trips in foreign countries." The inspector general's agent assigned to investigate "concluded" that the "prostitution problem was endemic."
• In Iraq, an "underground drug ring" may have been operating near the U.S. Embassy and "supplying" drugs to State Department security contractors, but an agent sent to investigate the allegations was prevented from completing the job.
The allegations were first reported Monday by CBS.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki responded Monday.
"We hold all employees to the highest standards," she said. "We take allegations of misconduct seriously and we investigate thoroughly. All cases mentioned in the CBS report were thoroughly investigated and under investigation, and the department continues to take action."
During a Tuesday State briefing with reporters, Psaki reiterated that the memo contains "unsubstantiated allegations" and that some cases are ongoing and some are closed. But she would not, though repeatedly pressed by reporters, specify exactly which ones were open or closed.
"As a matter of policy, I'm not going to talk" about specific cases, she said.
"We take every allegation seriously," Psaki added. "We are seeing through the process."
On Tuesday, Nicholas Merrill, a spokesman for Hillary Clinton, said Clinton was completely unaware of any of the investigations mentioned in the Office of the Inspector General's reports and memos, including the case involving her personal security detail allegedly soliciting prostitutes.
"We learned of it from the media and don't know anything beyond what's been reported," Merrill told CNN in a written statement.
Photos: Hillary during Congressional Benghazi Hearing time frame… Is there any question that Hillary wants to run in 2016?
Clinton officially left her post in February, no doubt hoping to distance herself from her mess at the State Department?!?
Also Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce, R-California, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said he has asked his staff to begin an investigation into the allegations, and sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry demanding an explanation.
"The notion that any or all of these cases would not be investigated thoroughly by the Department is unacceptable," Royce wrote in his letter to Kerry.
CNN obtained a draft, dated December 2012, of a report by the inspector general's office evaluating the performance of the department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security Special Investigations Division.
The report says that the bureau "lacks a firewall" that would preclude higher-ups from "exercising undue influence in particular cases."
The bureau doesn't have a manual with approved guidelines on how to investigate cases, the report also says. Investigators with the inspector general's office "discovered uncertainty" among state agents about how to conduct thorough investigations, and noted that not going through the proper mechanisms can "ruin" a potential criminal investigation.
The report also calls the department's Criminal Investigations Division "unwieldy" and says that "frequent agent turnover" makes it harder for the Bureau of Diplomatic Security to conduct investigations.
The inspector general's office published a February 2013 final report whose key findings are, largely, the same as stated in the December 2012 draft.
The division's current management structure, the report says, does not "foster independence from career pressures and creates significant potential for undue influence, favoritism, and potential retribution.
But things for the State Department just keep getting worse.
Townhall: First we learned from CBS News that Department official covered up and interfered with inspector general investigations of sexual misconduct, including the soliciation of prostitutes by an ambassador. Then we learned those sexual solicitations involved minors. Now, we're learning State Department officials covered up the shooting of four Hondurans.
More from the New York Post:
A top State Department official stymied investigators trying to get to the bottom of four killings in Honduras involving DEA agents and local police — yet another revelation from internal memos leaked by a whistleblower claiming a pattern of cover-ups.
The incident ended in the deaths of two pregnant women and two men last year, after Honduran national police opened fire from a State Department-owned helicopter on a small boat.
Honduran police said drugs were involved, but locals said the boat was full of fishermen. The killings were referenced in a whistleblower memo obtained by The Post.
Two Drug Enforcement Administration agents were involved, an agency spokeswoman said, and they were accompanied by Honduran national police on two State helicopters with contractors as pilots.
According to an internal 2012 document, the DEA agents were under the authority of the State Department chief of mission in Honduras, funded by a counternarcotics program, and were “subject to investigation” by State investigators.
But when those inquiries began, “despite requests by the US ambassador to Honduras and congressional pressure, DEA reportedly [was] not cooperating.”
With everything happening in Washington right now, it is (perhaps) easy to let things like this slip through the cracks. It's more than clear the State Department is operating in a culture without accountability… and is looking more and more like it is a center for all out corruption. But as Hillary would ask, what difference does it make?
You be the judge…
See related background information below:
What does the memo mean for Clinton… and perhaps the bigger question: What should it mean?
Remember those who died in Benghazi attacks… and all the unanswered questions… It does make a difference!! I bet if it were Chelsea left behind in Benghazi it would make a difference to Hillary!!