(CBS News) 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.
CBS News’ John Miller reports that 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.
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 investigators 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.
In one specific and striking cover-up, State Department agents told the Inspector General they were told to stop investigating the case of a U.S. Ambassador who held a sensitive diplomatic post and was suspected of patronizing prostitutes in a public park.
The State Department Inspector General’s memo refers to the 2011 investigation into an ambassador who “routinely ditched … his protective security detai” and inspectors suspect this was in order to “solicit sexual favors from prostitutes.”
Sources told CBS News that after the allegations surfaced, the ambassador was called to Washington, D.C. to meet with Undersecretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy, but was permitted to return to his post.
Fedenisn says “hostile intelligence services” allow such behavior to continue. “I would be very surprised if some of those entities were not aware of the activities,” she said. “So yes, it presents a serious risk to the United States government.”
A draft of the Inspector General’s report on the performance of the DSS, 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.”
John Miller spoke with Mike Pohelitz, a retired Senior Agent at the DSS who was involved in one of the cases listed in the Inspector General’s memo. Pohelitz said he was told to stop investigating one of the cases and that the order likely came from the upper ranks of the DSS.
“I got the information through my DS channel,” he told Miller. “But it had to come from somebody higher than DS, I’m sure.”
According to Fedenisn, when a high-ranking State Department security officials was shown a draft of their findings that investigations were being interfered with by State Department higher-ups, he said, “This is going to kill us.” In the final report however, all references to specific cases had been removed.
“I mean my heart really went out to the agents in that office, because they really want to do the right thing, they want to investigate the cases fully, correctly, accurately … and they can’t,” Fedenisn said.
Fedenisn, a DSS agent for 26 years, was a part of the team that prepared the draft report and is now a whistleblower who has taken her concerns to Congress.
Two hours after CBS News made inquiries to the State Department about these charges, investigators from the State Department’s Inspector General showed up at her door.
In a statement provided to CBS News, the State Department said they will “not comment about specific allegations of misconduct, internal investigations or personnel matters. Not all allegations are substantiated. It goes without saying that the Department does not condone interference with investigations by any of its employees.”
Remember how excited we all were when we thought we had elected a Republican as governor in the vastly-blue very liberal state of New Jersey? Ha-ha…guess what? Well, that’s awkward…so when people ask me why I no longer vote in elections on any level in this country, this should serve as your answer. It’s because you cannot trust a stinking, single one of them. No one.
From AP: WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is looking to get his groove back – at the beach. A post-Hurricane Sandy tour of the New Jersey coast line on Tuesday, gives the president a chance for a three-point play that can move him ahead of the recent controversies that have dogged the White House. With New Jersey’s Republican Gov. Chris Christie at Obama’s side, effective government, bipartisanship and economic opportunity will be the unmistakable message in the face of the coastal recovery.
For Obama, the tour helps him continue redirecting the political conversation after two weeks of dealing with the fallout over the administration’s response to terror attacks last September in Benghazi, Libya, the targeting of conservative groups by the Internal Revenue Service and the Justice Department’s review of journalist phone records as part of a leak investigation.
The visit occurs as Congress is away for a Memorial Day holiday break, a week-long recess that likely will silence the daily attention lawmakers, particularly Republicans, had been paying to the three political upheavals. It also comes just days after Obama started seeking to change the subject in Washington with a speech defending his controversial program of strikes by unmanned drones and renewing his push to close the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility. source – AP
Preparing for her 2016 presidential run
There is one thing that Hillary Clinton desires more than life itself, and that is to be the president of the United States of America. At any cost.
So given all that, what one thing in our recently homosexually-charged nation could propel her to the top of the ticket? An admission that she is a lesbian. The queer-crazy Liberal left would canonize her and erect statues in her honor. And at the very least, they would vote her right into the Oval Office.
And it could make all of the Benghazi coverup accusations just melt away, because if she is a lesbian then anything said against her is really “hate speech”. Obama has played this card as applied to his 50% African American heritage to great success.
This is a close to a sure thing as there is in the clandestine, incestual world of Washington, and Hillary knows it. Will it happen? Wait and see…
From New York Magazine: Hillary Clinton’s upcoming memoir is going to be an absolute doozy, according to the National Enquirer. A “family insider” says that the former secretary of State will “admit that she’s bisexual and has had lesbian relationships” and reveal that “a veterinarian who treated the family cat Socks at the White House stumbled upon her locked in a steamy embrace with a woman.”
The National Enquirer was right about the John Edwards story, so this is probably true, also! source – NY Magazine
IRS chief takes the 5th, won’t testify
Highlighting today’s House Oversight Committee hearing is IRS official Lois Lerner’s decision to invoke the Fifth Amendment and not answer questions. Lerner is still under subpoena to testify, meaning she will have to invoke her rights in person — and likely repeatedly.
Also appearing is Douglas Shulman, the former IRS commissioner who also testified in front of a Senate committee on Tuesday. Rounding out the witnesses are the inspector general who investigated the wrongdoing — J. Russell George — and Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal S. Wolin, who learned of the investigation into the IRS’s targeting last summer.
Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) told IRS officials on the panel that there will be “hell to pay” if they refuse to answer the committee’s questions — a message clearly targeted at Lois Lerner, whose lawyer has said she will plead the Fifth Amendment and not answer questions.
“If you refuse to answer,” Lynch said, “you will leave us no choice but to ask for a special counsel or the appointment of a special prosecutor to get to the bottom of this.”
Lynch added: “I hope that’s not the approach of the IRS going forward, because there will be hell to pay.”
Lynch’s superior on the committee, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), previously asked the committee to respect Lerner’s right to plead the Fifth.
Jim Jordan ties IRS scandal to Benghazi
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who chairs an oversight subcommittee on regulatory affairs and government spending, sought to tie the situation at the Internal Revenue Service to the panel’s ongoing investigation into the Sept. 11, 2012 attack at the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans.
Jordan dismissed statements by the Obama administration and IRS officials that just a handful of employees were aware of and conducted improper review of organizations seeking tax-exempt status, saying he didn’t believe those explanations since the same officials worked together to decide how the agency would reveal the improper actions at a May 10 conference hosted by the American Bar Association.
Then, Jordan tied the ongoing woes at the IRS to the Benghazi attack, another subject under review by the committee
“This administration, which told us and told the American people that the attack that killed four Americans in Benghazi was the work — was caused by a video — is now the same administration who expects us to believe was just the result of two rogue agents in Cincinnati,” Jordan said. “The people don’t buy it, the American people get it. They just want this administration to give them the truth. And that’s why this hearing is so important.” source – Washington Post
The Internal Revenue Service official in charge of the tax-exempt organizations at the time when the unit targeted tea party groups now runs the IRS office responsible for the health care legislation.
Sarah Hall Ingram served as commissioner of the office responsible for tax-exempt organizations between 2009 and 2012. But Ingram has since left that part of the IRS and is now the director of the IRS’ Affordable Care Act office, the IRS confirmed to ABC News today.
Her successor, Joseph Grant, is taking the fall for misdeeds at the scandal-plagued unit between 2010 and 2012. During at least part of that time, Grant served as deputy commissioner of the tax-exempt unit.
Grant announced today that he would retire June 3, despite being appointed as commissioner of the tax-exempt office May 8, a week ago.
As the House voted to fully repeal the Affordable Care Act Thursday evening, House Speaker John Boehner expressed “serious concerns” that the IRS is empowered as the law’s chief enforcer.
“Fully repealing ObamaCare will help us build a stronger, healthier economy, and will clear the way for patient-centered reforms that lower health care costs and protect jobs,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said.
“Obamacare empowers the agency that just violated the public’s trust by secretly targeting conservative groups,” Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-Ind., added. “Even by Washington’s standards, that’s unacceptable.”
Sen. John Cornyn even introduced a bill, the “Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care Act of 2013,” which would prohibit the Secretary of the Treasury, or any delegate, including the IRS, from enforcing the Affordable Care Act.
“Now more than ever, we need to prevent the IRS from having any role in Americans’ health care,” Cornyn, R-Texas, stated. “I do not support Obamacare, and after the events of last week, I cannot support giving the IRS any more responsibility or taxpayer dollars to implement a broken law.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell also reacted to the revelation late Thursday, stating the news was “stunning, just stunning.” source – ABC News
You’re a racist if you disagree
President Barack Obama dodged questions Thursday about the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups, shifted responsibility for the Benghazi attack to Congress, and said ‘I offer no apologies’ for the Department of Justice’s secret seizure of reporter’s phone records in search of a classified intelligence leak.
In a rain-soaked Rose Garden press conference originally intended to be a victory lap for the United States’ relationship with Turkey, Obama stood alongside Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan and fielded questions which quickly shifted to the trio of scandals that are engulfing his administration.
Beginning in 2010, Obama’s IRS targeted a list of approximately 300 tea party-related and other conservative groups for aggressive scrutiny following their applications for tax-exempt status.
His Department of Justice secretly spied on the Associated Press’s phone records in an attempt to trace a national security leak.
And his State Department political appointees intervened in the aftermath of the 2012 terror attack on an American diplomatic outpost in Libya, in a process that resulted in a misleading set of talking points which ignored terrorism in favor of a more muted explanation, in the midst of a re-election campaign.
On the IRS scandal, Obama wouldn’t commit to saying no one at the White House knew about the targeting of conservative groups before the White House Counsel was informed just days ago.
He spoke of various measures he was recommending, to ‘learn the lessons of Benghazi.’ But he referred to the murders of four Americans there as an ‘incident,’ not a terror attack. source – Daily Mail UK
Desperate to score a win and begin to turn the tide of scandal that is flooding his presidency, Barack Obama yesterday pretended to fire outgoing Acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller whose term was set to expire in June anyway.
From Daily Mail UK: President Barack Obama has thrown his acting IRS commissioner overboard, making Steven Miller the highest-ranking political casualty thus far in a series of scandals that have swept his administration in recent weeks.
In a hastily called press conference in the East Room of the White House, Obama told reporters that he had asked Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew to find out who was responsible for a program that targeted tea party groups and other conservative organizations for a special level of intrusive questioning after they applied for tax-exempt charitable statuses.
‘Lew took the first step by requesting and accepting the resignation of the acting director of the IRS,’ Obama said.
‘It’s important,’ he added, ‘to institute new leadership that can help restore confidence going forward.’
But in an email to IRS employees, Miller claimed he would only be leaving next month because his assignment would be over.
‘It is with regret that I will be departing from the IRS as my acting assignment ends in early June,’ Miller wrote. ‘This has been an incredibly difficult time for the IRS given the events of the past few days, and there is a strong and immediate need to restore public trust in the nation’s tax agency.’
The IRS, the president conceded, ‘improperly screened conservative groups.’ He referred to a report released Tuesday by the IRS’s Inspector General. ’The misconduct that it uncovered is inexcusable,’ Obama exclaimed. ‘It’s inexcusable and Americans are right to be angry about it, and I am angry about it.’ source – Daily Mail UK