State Dept. accused of covering up indiscretions around globe

The spirit of Benghazi went far beyond the lies and obfuscations pumped out by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her top people, according CBS News, which has “uncovered documents that show the State Department may have covered up allegations of illegal and inappropriate behavior within their ranks.”

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.”

Golly, a few more reports of “endemic” wrongdoing smothered beneath equally endemic cover-ups, and I might just find myself doubting President Obama’s claims that he’s running the Most Transparent Administration In History!  Seriously, has there ever been a less transparent Administration?  Team Obama is a riddle wrapped in mystery inside an enigma, surrounded by stone walls and a moat full of talking-point alligators.

These squelched investigations were looking into some pretty lively activity:

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, [Diplomatic Security Service] 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.”

The ambassador in question had to make a little trip back to Washington for a tongue-lashing, but it was all kept quiet, and he was allowed to return to his post.  As State IG investigator Fedenisn observed to CBS News, that’s not just scandalous behavior – it’s a serious security risk.

The State Department might have been lax about investigating and exposing these nefarious activities, but it springs into action with the speed and ferocity of a panther when it’s time to pounce on a whistleblower.  “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 [Fedenisn’s] door,” the network reports.

It’s funny how many scandal floodgates are bursting open at once.  Is this State Department fiasco another one of those reports that was mysteriously delayed until after the 2012 election, like the Treasury Inspector General report on IRS abuses, and the Defense Department’s report on security leaks to Hollywood filmmakers?  (For that matter, why did NSA leaker Edward Snowden choose not to speak up during the election, when his revelations would have gotten even more attention, and might have led to real change – or at least some very illuminating panic from the Obama Administration?)  Are many of these stories an eruption of pent-up frustration from civil servants who agreed to play it cool through the election, or is this rolling avalanche of damaging revelations growing as whistleblowers watch the evening news and feel emboldened to speak out at last?