HFAC to @StateOIG: What happened to keeping the Congress “fully and currently informed”?

—By Domani Spero

U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee recently wrote to Secretary of State John Kerry regarding allegations of misconduct within the State Department and interference by senior State Department officials in the subsequent investigations. (See HFAC Chairman Ed Royce Demands Explanation Over Alleged Misconduct and Interference of DSS Investigations).

He has now called on the State Department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) to explain in detail how it produced the February 2013 OIG report on misconduct within the State Department and reported interference by senior State Department officials to stymie the subsequent investigations.

Basically, he told the OIG/D Harry Geisel that 1) he was troubled by reports that senior State Department officials may have prevented the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) from investigating instances of administrative and criminal misconduct within the Department; and 2)   he was concerned that the Office of Inspector General (OIG) was reportedly aware of eight separate instances in which senior political appointees within the Department “influenced, manipulated, or simply called off” these cases, yet it failed to disclose this information to Congress.

Wait, what? Oh, paper trail!  A memorandum, two drafts, a final and sanitized version of OIG report ISP-I-13-18.

  • October 23, 2012 Memorandum: Among the cases reportedly investigated by DSS described in this memo is a Department security official in Beirut was alleged to have sexually assaulted foreign nationals hired as embassy guards; members of the Secretary’s security detail allegedly “engaged prostitutes while on official trips in foreign countries”; an “underground drug ring” may have supplied security contractors at Embassy Baghdad with drugs; and a U.S. Ambassador at a “sensitive diplomatic post” was “suspected of patronizing prostitutes in a public park.”
  •  Draft report dated November 20, 2012: This draft included many of the details contained in the October memorandum, in addition to referencing the attempts to block the investigations.
  • Draft report dated December 4, 2012: This draft reportedly “watered down the language,” focusing more on the need for investigative independence.
  • Final Report dated February 28, 2013:  Inspection of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, Office of Investigations and Counterintelligence, Divisions of Special Investigations, Criminal Investigations, and Computer Investigations and Forensics (ISP-I-13-18).  This was apparently submitted to Congress in February 2013 but “was bereft of any reference to these specific cases” according to Mr. Royce.

Why Congressman Royce might be pissed?

Apparently on March 14, 2013, OIG representatives briefed Committee staff on a final version of the report but did not mention any of these alleged cases.

At no time during this meeting did OIG personnel explain the basis of this finding or provide details concerning “undue influence” on DSS investigations.  When asked, officials declined to comment on specific examples.  While the Department and OIG deny any wrongdoing, the lack of detail appears to be inconsistent with the OIG’s mission to keep the Congress “fully and currently informed.”

So the congressman is asking for the “immediate production of both the October 23, 2012 memorandum and the draft Inspection report(s), as well as all documents and communications referring or relating to the February 2013 Inspection of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, Office of Investigations and Counterintelligence, Divisions of Special Investigations, Divisions of Special Criminal Investigations, and Computer Investigations and Forensics (ISP-I-13-18).  Further, he wants an OIG briefing to discuss the OIG’s “knowledge of this entire matter” and a clarification in writing  “whether, and on what basis, OIG agreed to omit information from this final report pursuant to any State Department official’s request.”

The request was for all requested documents and information “as soon as possible” but no later than 5:00 p.m. on June 27, 2013.

The full letter is here.








Video of the Week: Can we please borrow Australia’s Lt. Gen. David Morrison for a bit?

—By Domani Spero

The State Department spokesman said,  “We hold all employees to the highest standards.”  Her top boss also said, “all employees of this department are held to the highest standards, now and always.” Of course, they are held to the highest standards. They are all public servants representing the United States overseas, we hold them to the highest expectation. But what we want to hear from the Secretary of State is what is he going to do if these allegations of manipulation and interference of DSS investigations are proven true?

Since we haven’t heard anything about that, we’re just going to borrow this guy talking about standing up for others, morale moral courage and legacy.

This is the Chief of Army, Lieutenant General David Morrison, AO, to the Australian Army following the announcement on Thursday, 13 June 2013 of civilian police and Defence investigations into allegations of unacceptable behaviour by Army members.

“If we are a great national institution – if we care about the legacy left to us by those who have served before us, if we care about the legacy we leave to those who, in turn, will protect and secure Australia – then it is up to us to make a difference.

Yeah, that.