Swastika Investigation: No update but DS has “resorted to a number of investigative techniques”

 

Related posts:
August 11/21: Non-Update on the Swastika Investigation in Foggy Bottom
July 29, 2021: @StateDept Opens Swastika Incident Investigation in Foggy Bottom
Via DPB, October 12, 2021:
QUESTION: … I just want to ask about two reports. These are non-policy things. One – or actually, I’ll just ask about one because the IG report on it was not – I want to ask about something that has dropped off the radar but I asked you about a little while ago, and that’s the swastika incident in the elevator. What’s – it’s been now almost three – more than three months, or almost three months.
MR PRICE: It has. It has.
QUESTION: What’s going on?
MR PRICE: And our Diplomatic Security remains engaged in this investigation. As you know, immediately upon discovering this horrific symbol in the building, the Secretary ordered an investigation. They have resorted to a number of investigative techniques. We are also taking into account what other practices, procedures, tools we might implement here in the building to help us in the course of any such future investigations, hoping that we don’t need to resort to that. I don’t have an update for you.
QUESTION: So there’s – okay, nothing.
MR PRICE: But it remains a priority for us.

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Non-Update on the Swastika Investigation in Foggy Bottom

 

Related: @StateDept Opens Swastika Incident Investigation in Foggy Bottom
An insider previously pointed out to us that there are very few visitors in Foggy Bottom these days and those few are always accompanied by someone from State. There are also cameras everywhere.  So unless a gremlin etched the Nazi symbol in the elevator and somehow escaped the cameras, we should know the culprit soon, shouldn’t we? It is true that the HST building is a large place; it has 1,400,000 square feet of floor space but the Pentagon has 6,500,000 square feet of office space and their door to door sweep almost found Yuri! So, c’mon!
By the way, Diplomatic Security just got a new assistant secretary. The Senate, just this week, confirmed Gentry O. Smith as Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security.  We’re sure his plate will get full pretty quickly as soon as he is sworn-in but this is not just a simple case of vandalism.  Did somebody just walked in and etched a hateful sign inside the building then walked out? No? Given the reaction of the State Department leadership and the WH on this incident, our assumption is that this investigation would be on top of Mr. Smith’s list as he assumes charge of the diplomatic security bureau.
Below via State Department Briefing | August 10, 2021:

QUESTION: Just in time. I have a – one housekeeping item that I want to start with and then go to Afghanistan. It’s now been a little bit over two weeks – 15 days, I think – since the swastika was discovered in the elevator. Secretary came out, obviously condemned it, said there would be an investigation into it. What’s the result of the investigation?

MR PRICE: Well, Matt, as you know, shortly after the swastika was discovered, the Secretary sent a note to the entire workforce. And he made clear in that note that hate has no home here. And nowhere is that tolerated, everywhere is it abhorrent, but here in this department, the – a department that stands for defending human rights, human dignity, the values of pluralism and inclusion around the world, that symbol is especially repugnant, and repugnant to the women and men of the department and to everyone who works here.

In the days after – and you heard directly from Secretary Blinken, I guess it was a week ago yesterday, on this – of course, President Biden has put forward a nominee for a special envoy to combat anti-Semitism, put forward a nominee for – to be an envoy for international religious freedom. And as Secretary Blinken noted in his message to the workforce, there is an investigation underway. I know this is a priority on the part of the investigators who are looking closely into this. I don’t have an update that I’m able to provide at the time, but if and when we do, I will certainly be able give you that.

QUESTION: Well, far be it from me to say that something is taking a long time or not taking a long time, because I – but an elevator is a pretty small place, right? This building has got controlled access. It would seem to me that two weeks is more than enough to come up with a – to come up with some kind of explanation. And while you’re correct in saying that this kind of hate has no place and that the Secretary said that, this building also stands for accountability and transparency. So —

MR PRICE: Absolutely. Absolutely. And —

QUESTION: So are you really telling me that two weeks after the fact, they can’t – they got no leads —

MR PRICE: The elevator is a small place. This building, as you know, is a large place.

QUESTION: I —

MR PRICE: So —

QUESTION: Yeah, but it’s not that big, Ned. Come on. It’s not that big. All right. If you don’t have anything, you don’t have anything.

MR PRICE: I don’t have anything to offer now, but we —

QUESTION: All right, let’s go on —

MR PRICE: — of course, do believe in the value of transparency. That’s why we’re out here every day.

QUESTION: Yes.

MR PRICE: And, of course, as soon as we have an update, we’ll be able to share that.

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@StateDept Opens Swastika Incident Investigation in Foggy Bottom

 

 

Following reports that a swastika was found etched into the wall of an elevator in Foggy Bottom, the State Department has reportedly opened an investigation into the incident. Axios which broke the news of the incident writes:

“The defacement raises troubling questions about security inside the nation’s foreign policy nerve center, and the potential for antisemitism within an outward-facing element of the United States government.”

While the State Department has over 76,000 employees worldwide, the latest June 2021 data from State/GTM indicates that there are some 15,279 Foreign Service and Civil Service Domestic Employees.  There are also various federal contractors working in Foggy Bottom but we do not have a good estimate for those type of employees.
Axios points out that most employees are working from home and that “All of elevators within “Main State” are within a secure perimeter, and security cameras — and, in many cases, uniformed guards – cover entrances to all secure areas.” The investigation including the availability of camera footage would be under Diplomatic Security’s responsibility.
One unintended consequence of this incident is it has raised further awareness among the State leadership and the general workforce that this scourge exists and should not be tolerated. And that, as one employee told us, “when it’s detected anywhere – domestic or overseas — within our midst and work environments, there needs to be tangible and swift consequences.” It has also been pointed out to us that State has an “occasional propensity” to sweep things under the rug because it’s embarrassing and/or inconvenient.
Well, hopefully, not this time. Too many people are paying attention for that to happen.
When the culprit is caught, what might be the penalty? Where would this offense be in the penalty list for 3 FAM 4540? Or 3 FAM 4370?
There is also 18 U.S. Code § 1361 which says “If the damage or attempted damage to such property exceeds the sum of $1,000, by a fine under this title or imprisonment for not more than ten years, or both; if the damage or attempted damage to such property does not exceed the sum of $1,000, by a fine under this title or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or both.”
And of course, there is always notoriously disgraceful conduct.
Let’s pay close attention to what happens next.

 

Here is Secretary Blinken’s note:
'Hate Has No Place Here' note, Secretary Blinken, July 27, 2021

‘Hate Has No Place Here’ note, Secretary Blinken, July 27, 2021

 

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