CBS: US State
Department Covering Up Sexual Misconduct
June 11, 2013
A U.S. television
network is alleging that State Department officials have tried to cover
up alleged sexual misconduct by American diplomats serving overseas.
The U.S. broadcaster CBS News says it has obtained a memo from the State
Department's Inspector General reporting that several recent
investigations into misconduct overseas were influenced or manipulated.
The CBS News report says the memo cites specific examples. Among them
are allegations that a State Department security official in Beirut
"engaged in sexual assaults" on foreign nationals hired as embassy
guards. There also are allegations that members of former Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton's security detail "engaged prostitutes while on
official trips in foreign countries."
The CBS News report says members of the State Department's security
force were told to stop investigating a U.S. ambassador suspected of
patronizing a prostitute in a public park. It quotes the memo as saying
that "Hindering such cases calls into question the integrity of the
investigative process, can result in counterintelligence vulnerabilities
and can allow criminal behavior to continue."
Asked if she challenges any of those allegations, State Department
spokesperson Jen Psaki said Monday she would not comment about ongoing
"We hold all employees to the highest standards. We take allegations of
misconduct seriously and we investigate thoroughly. All cases mentioned
in the CBS report were thoroughly investigated or under investigation,
and the department continues to take action," Psaki said.
Psaki says officials have responded to the recommendations in the Office
of the Inspector General report regarding the Bureau of Diplomatic
Security has taken the further step of requesting an additional review
by outside experienced law enforcement officers on top of the OIG
inspection so that officers with law enforcement experience can make
expert assessments about our current procedures," Psaki said.
Asked about allegations against a current U.S. ambassador, Psaki said
she would not talk about specific cases.
"But I can say broadly that the notion that we would not vigorously
pursue criminal misconduct in a case, in any case, is preposterous. And
we've put individuals behind bars for criminal behavior. There is record
of that. Ambassadors would be no exception," Psaki said.
Psaki says the State Department "would never condone any undue influence
on any report or investigation." She dismissed the memo's reported
conclusion that contact between the secretary of state's security detail
and prostitutes is "endemic," saying, "It's not at all."