- Revelations made in memo to State Deputy Inspector General Harold Geisel
- The 2012 memo was written by a team leader in the IG’s Office
- The person asserts that the hiring process is flawed
- Previous memo revealed State Department called off investigation into U.S. Ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman that alleged he courted prostitutes
PUBLISHED: 05:57 EST, 13 June 2013 | UPDATED: 07:24 EST, 13 June 2013
A concerning number of State Department law-enforcement agents have criminal records or checkered backgrounds, according to memo.
Around two thousands agents in State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security can play only limited roles in the agency due to their previous form, reported the New York Post.
The revelation is the latest disclosure in a series of scandals which are threatening to to engulf the bureau.
The whistleblower’s memo, obtained by the New York Post, was written to State Deputy Inspector General Harold Geisel from a team leader in the IG’s Office.
The person asserts that the hiring process is flawed and holds implications for the bureau.
‘Department intakes of new . . . officers since the hiring surge a decade ago have reportedly been flawed, with ‘mitigation’ of troubling histories including criminal matters, wrote the team leader.
The damning memo adds that some Diplomatic Security field offices ‘have major problems just waiting to be discovered.’
Yesterday an internal memo claimed the State Department called off an investigation into allegations that U.S. Ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman repeatedly trawled overseas public parks in search of prostitutes, including minors.
Undersecretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy ordered the investigation closed shortly after it was opened, according to the memo, which was written by the State Department Inspector General’s office. Gutman, who has not been charged with any crimes, said the allegations are ‘baseless.’
‘I am angered and saddened by the baseless allegations that have appeared in the press and to watch the four years I have proudly served in Belgium smeared is devastating,’ Gutman, 56, told MailOnline in an e-mailed statement.
‘I live on a beautiful park in Brussels that you walk through to get to many locations and at no point have I ever engaged in any improper activity.’
The case against Gutman, a top Obama donor, was being investigated by the Special Investigations Division, an independent investigative arm of the Diplomatic Security Service.
The investigating agent ‘had determined that the ambassador routinely ditched his protective security detail in order to solicit sexual favors from both prostitutes and minor children,’ states the memo obtained by MailOnline.
‘As the agent began to plan surveillance on the ambassador to obtain corroboration, the agent reportedly received notification that [Kennedy] had directed [the State Department’s IG] to cease the investigation and have the agent return to Washington.’
Gutman is a top donor to President Obama, having raised a total of $775,000 for his 2008 campaign and inauguration committee, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. A native New Yorker and son of a Holocaust survivor, he has been married to his wife, Michelle Loewinger, since 1981.
He is adored by Belgians, who dubbed him in 2011 ‘the Ambassador who makes us love America again.’ One Belgian newspaper has even claimed that he could handily win an election if he ran for office there.
The case against Gutman is just one in a series of supposed State Department coverups outlined in the memo, which was first reported by CBS News’ John Miller.
The U.S. embassy in Brussels (left) sits on a 32-acre park (right) that is also the site of the Royal Palace of Brussels and the Belgian parliament
The incidents were also cited in a November 2012 draft of a report by the Office of the Inspector General on the performance of the Diplomatic Security Service. The report obtained by MailOnline stated that senior government officials were ‘protecting favored [Diplomatic Security] rising stars from criminal charges or from embarrassing revelations that could harm a promising career.’
AMBASSADOR GUTMAN: A TIMELINE
July 8, 1956: Howard Gutman is born in New York, New York
1977: Graduates Columbia University
1980: Graduates magna cum laude from Harvard Law School
Oct. 3, 1981: Marries Michelle Phyllis Loewinger in Long Island
1982: Joins Washington, D.C. law firm Williams & Connolly LLP
1985: Becomes special assistant to FBI Director William H. Webster
1988: Becomes a partner at Williams & Connolly and practices law there for the next two decades
June 2009: Nominated by President Obama to serve as ambassador to Belgium
Aug. 14, 2009: Sworn in as ambassador to Belgium
May 2011: Accused by a Diplomatic Security investigator of having ‘ditched’ his private security detail on a regular basis to pursue sexual favors from prostitutes and minors
‘Such interventions take place often enough that several sources in the Department who regularly see [Special Investigations Division] cases summed the situation up with almost identical words: DS should never investigate DS,’ the report continued.
But those sentences, as well as all references to the investigations that were detailed in the memo, were removed from a final draft of the report – which was issued in March 2013 – at the request of Diplomatic Security’s top brass.
At a December 14, 2012 meeting, Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security Eric Boswell requested that the information be omitted from the final report, according to notes from the meeting obtained by MailOnline.
‘He proposed that the subject “should be withheld” from the inspection report until INV’s process determines if “there is something there,”‘ the meeting notes stated. ‘Boswell said putting the subject in the report would “generally damage DS,” would “probably damage the Department,” and would be used by “every defense lawyer around.”‘
In addition to the Gutman case, State Department officials also reportedly manipulated an investigation into the ‘endemic’ hiring of prostitutes among agents belonging to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s security detail.
The memo states that seven security agents were accused of paying for sex while traveling with Clinton overseas. Two agents confessed to the deeds while a third ‘stated he paid for services that were ultimately not received.’
In one instance, State Department superiors allowed an offending agent to continue his role in securing a Moscow hotel ‘despite obvious counterintelligence issues.’
Investigators later uncovered evidence against four more agents and concluded that the prostitution problem within Clinton’s security detail was ‘endemic.’
As punishment, three agents were removed from the security detail and reassigned elsewhere. But further investigation into the remaining four agents was stopped by senior officials, ‘despite the possibility of counterintelligence issues,’ according to the memo.
The document also references an ‘underground drug ring’ operating near the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad may have been providing drugs to U.S. security contractors, including one who died of a methadone overdose.
The memo was brought to light by Aurelia Fedenisn, a former investigator for the State Department Inspector General. She says is sharing the memo with the media to shed light on how internal investigations are influenced by the State Department.
She told CBS that investigators expect some influence but that ‘the degree to which that influence existed and how high up it went, was very disturbing.’
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki pushed back against the allegations in the memo during a press briefing on Monday.
The ‘notion that we would not vigorously pursue criminal misconduct in a case, any case, is preposterous,’ she said. ‘We take allegations of misconduct seriously and we investigate thoroughly. All cases mentioned in the CBS report were thoroughly investigated or under investigation.’
Psaki added that the State Department has responded specifically to the Inspector General’s claims that its investigations are being influenced.
‘The department has responded to the recommendations in the [Inspector General’s] report,’ she added. ‘Diplomatic Security has taken the further step of requesting additional review by outside experience law enforcement officers on top of the [Inspector General’s] inspection so that officers with law enforcement experience can make expert assessments about our current procedures.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2340911/Revealed-State-Department-employs-TWO-THOUSAND-agents-criminal-records-checkered-backgrounds.html#ixzz2W7Kc6B5X
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