Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, demanded an explanation from Secretary of State John Kerry regarding allegations of misconduct within the State Department and interference by senior State Department officials in the subsequent investigations. The letter follows Chairman Royce's announcement yesterday that he has asked Committee staff to investigate the matter.
In a letter to Kerry, Chairman Royce wrote that "the notion that any or all of these cases would not be investigated thoroughly by the Department is unacceptable."
Royce asked Kerry to identify any of the State Department officials who may have influenced Diplomatic Security Service investigations of the alleged misconduct.
The signed letter is available HERE.
The text of the letter follows:
June 11, 2013
The Honorable John Kerry
Secretary of State
Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520
Dear Mr. Secretary:
I am deeply troubled by the allegations made in a recent CBS News story that senior State Department officials prevented the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) from investigating reports of administrative and criminal misconduct within the Department. This story further alleged that the Department's Office of Inspector General produced an October 2012 memorandum that contained eight specific instances in which DSS investigations were "influenced, manipulated, or simply called off."
Among the cases reportedly investigated by DSS and contained in the memorandum: a State Department security official in Beirut was alleged to have sexually assaulted foreign nationals hired as embassy guards; members of former Secretary Hillary Clinton'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." The notion that any or all of these cases would not be investigated thoroughly by the Department is unacceptable.
According to the article, OIG then generated a draft report, apparently based on the above memorandum, in which the Office reportedly concluded: "Hindering such cases calls into question the integrity of the investigative process, can result in counterintelligence vulnerabilities and can allow criminal behavior to continue." But in the final version of the report, which was released in February 2013, all references to these specific cases were removed. Instead, the OIG concluded simply: "The Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) Special Investigations Division (SID), which investigates allegations of criminal and administrative misconduct, lacks a firewall to preclude the DS and Department of State (Department) hierarchies from exercising undue influence in particular cases."
In light of the possibility that the Department interfered with the independence of DSS investigations, I ask that you provide Committee staff with a briefing on this matter as soon as possible and answer the following questions in writing:
1. Did any State Department official instruct the Diplomatic Security Service not to pursue any of the eight cases identified in the October 2012 OIG memorandum?
2. If so, please indentify the individual(s) and the nature of their influence on these DSS investigations.
3. Has the Department taken any actions in response to either the OIG February 2013 Inspection report and/or the CBS News report? If so, please detail them.
Please also produce all documents and communications referring and/or relating to the eight cases cited by the October 2012 OIG memorandum.
I request that you provide the requested documents and information as soon as possible, but no later than 5:00 p.m. on June 25, 2013. When producing documents to the Committee, please deliver production sets to the Majority Staff in Room 2170 of the Rayburn House Office Building and the Minority Staff in Room B360 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The Committee prefers, if possible, to receive all documents in electronic format. An attachment to this letter provides additional information about responding to the Committee's request.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Thomas Alexander, Chief Counsel for Oversight and Investigations, at (202) 225-5021. Thank you for your prompt attention to this important matter.
EDWARD R. ROYCE