To be clear, we're talking about the most recent mess at State -- not the lethal parade of failures known as "Benghazi." Keeping these scandals straight is getting exhausting. Katie wrote yesterday about CBS News' report on damning findings of an Inspector General investigation into Hillary Clinton's State Department. The basics:
CBS News has uncovered documents that show the State Department may have covered up allegations of illegal and inappropriate behavior within their ranks. The Diplomatic Security Service, or the DSS, is the State Department's security force, charged with protecting the secretary of state and U.S. ambassadors overseas and with investigating any cases of misconduct on the part of the 70,000 State Department employees worldwide...according to an internal State Department Inspector General's memo, several recent investigations were influenced, manipulated, or simply called off. The memo obtained by CBS News cited eight specific examples. Among them: allegations that a State Department security official in Beirut "engaged in sexual assaults" on 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." 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.
So we have a drug ring, an "endemic" prostitution problem among Hillary Clinton's security detail, and pattern of alleged sexual assault in Beirut (where, by the way, our embassy astoundingly isn't up to snuff on security measures), investigations into which were manipulated or terminated by State Department higher-ups. As we know from the Benghazi matter, they're hyper-sensitive about bad political optics. The CBS News story also mentioned the IG's discovery that one US Ambassador "routinely ditched" security to solicit prostitutes in a public park. The Ambassador in question was recalled to Washington, then sent on his merry way by by Undersecretary of State Patrick Kennedy -- a familiar name from the Benghazi imbroglio. It gets worse. The ambassador in question is also alleged to have solicited sexual acts from "minor children," according to NBC News:
The ambassador who came under investigation “routinely ditched his protective security detail in order to solicit sexual favors from both prostitutes and minor children,” according to documents obtained by NBC News...Former State Department investigator Aurelia Fedenisn has said that investigators dropped the ball in the case, and that a final report published in March of this year was “watered down,” according to her attorney. “She felt it was important that Congress get this information,” Fedenisn’s lawyer Cary Schulman told NBC News.
Did the State Department keep a known (or at least heavily suspected) pedophile on the job, try to block the investigation, then "water down" the final report? State denies any undue influence on internal probes, and the ambassador is decrying the allegations "smears." Who is he? The New York Post unearths a name with deep financial ties to President Obama and Democrats:
A DS agent was called off a case against US Ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman over claims that he solicited prostitutes, including minors. “The ambassador’s protective detail and the embassy’s surveillance detection team . . . were well aware of the behavior.” Undersecretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy ordered the investigation ceased, and the ambassador remains in place, according to the memo. Gutman was a big Democratic donor before taking the post, having raised $500,000 for President Obama’s 2008 campaign and helping finance his inaugural.
Why did Kennedy "order the investigation ceased"? The Post story also notes that Clinton's Secretary of State Cheryl Mills -- you remember her, too, right? -- personally involved herself in a separate investigation, effectively shutting it down.