Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Two State Department whistleblowers threaten Hillary with cover-up charges - Thomas Lifson

by Thomas Lifson

Protecting a pedophile ambassador is political dynamite. Ambassadors are appointed by presidents, and tend to be either career diplomats or big donors. Keeping the lid on disclosure of such a scandal, and potentially enabling more child abuse to protect a crony is serious scandal material.

Evidence of a cover-up of scandal at the State Department during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State is in the hands of a congressional committee and has been leaked to the Washington Examiner.  At this point, it is a loose thread, not a smoking gun. But loose threads do have the potential to unravel fabric, and it is clear that Hillary Clinton wove a fabric at State that included lying to the public about a video causing the Benghazi massacre and decisions favorable to major donors to her family foundation.

Two whistleblowers – people who came forward with evidence of scandal – have now stepped forward and revealed wrongdoing. Whistleblowers enjoy some degree of legal protection, and if they are able to implicate higher-ups, there is always the potential for congressional investigators to flip one or more higher ups, offering immunity in return for testimony implicating the top people. That has got to be a worrisome blip on Hillary Clinton’s radar screen, for there are people in her thrall (cough – Huma Abedin, Sidney Blumenthal) who have acted as hench-persons and may be targets.

 The specific loose thread involves removing material from an inspector general’s report. Sarah Westwood writes in the Examiner:

State Department Inspector General officials edited out passages of a high-profile report in 2013 that could have embarrassed Hillary Clinton just days before she quit President Obama's Cabinet.
The officials excised details of a cover up of misconduct by Clinton's security team.

The edits raise concerns that investigators were subjected to "undue influence" from agency officials.

First key point: the security team monitors the Secretary 24/7. They know who is in her bedroom, for instance, and who meets with her in non-public settings. If there is dirt, they know about it.

We know about the earlier draft that was censored because of a man named Richard Higbie, a senior criminal investigator at the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, who provided the uncensored report to several members of Congress and multiple committees, as well as to the Examiner. Higbie is currently suing the State Department for alleged retaliation (a big no-no under whistleblower protection laws). Higbie alleges widespread cover-ups:
The Bureau of Diplomatic Security's special investigations unit "lacks a firewall to preclude the [diplomatic security] and Department of State hierarchies from exercising undue influence in particular cases," the published version stated.
The same final version mentions only that "the perception exists among knowledgeable parties that external influences have negatively affected some [special investigations division] investigations."
But an earlier version dated November 16, 2012, reveals much greater detail about internal investigations that were blocked by top State Department officials.
"Inspectors learned in conversations with Department employees…that in some cases superiors in [diplomatic security] and in senior levels of the State Department have prejudiced the commencement, course and outcome of [special investigations division] investigations," the early draft said.
"Sources referred to [diplomatic security] sometimes circling the wagons to protect favored [diplomatic security] rising stars from criminal charges or from embarrassing revelations that could harm a promising career," the draft continued.
"One case, which triggered outraged comment from several [special investigations division] sources, relates to allegations that a Regional Security Officer engaged in serious criminal conduct including sexual abuse of local embassy staff during a series of embassy postings. Sources also reported that a senior [diplomatic security] official successfully protected some agents on the Secretary's Detail from investigations into misbehavior while on official trips," the November 16 draft said. (snip)
Many of the bureau of diplomatic security officials whom the investigators probed "often return to work" with firearms in tow.
Some investigators "pointedly carry their own firearms constantly" while in the State Department office because they are afraid of "a nasty elevator confrontation."
Sounds a lot like the Secret Service hookers in Colombia scandal. But there is even worse stuff alleged:
Another passage that was removed from the public report suggests officials in Clinton's office may have protected an ambassador from a child abuse investigation.
"Sources reported that a senior '7th Floor' Department official ordered [diplomatic security] to stop the investigation of an ambassador accused of pedophilia, and another such senior official had [diplomatic security] stop an investigation of an ambassador-designate," the draft reads.
The seventh floor is the location of the secretary of state's office, as well as the offices of the deputy secretary and the undersecretaries, according to the State Department's website. If any of these details were removed because of exculpatory information, this is never stated.
The same section of the final report, titled "Need for Independence," makes no reference to the pedophilia allegations or the sexual abuse charges that were covered up by State Department staff. (snip)
Hand-written comments in the margin of a November 27, 2012, draft of the report suggest there was an internal struggle over what information should be included in the document.
Next to the passage describing an investigation into the pedophilia allegations against an unnamed ambassador, for example, someone typed: "[T]hese allegations must be deleted." Someone else wrote, "Why?" in the space below.
While the question wasn't answered in a nearly identical draft that followed on November 28, the offending language was missing from a December 4, 2012, version of the report.
Protecting a pedophile ambassador is political dynamite. Ambassadors are appointed by presidents, and tend to be either career diplomats or big donors. Keeping the lid on disclosure of such a scandal, and potentially enabling more child abuse to protect a crony is serious scandal material.

So, how did this cover-up get by the Inspector General, the person charged with uncovering misbehavior and insulated from control by the management hierarchy? Well, the answer is that the post of IG was left vacant during Hillary’s tenure. In place of a genuine IG was an interim IG named Harold Geisel.

Geisel may well the guy who was leaned on.  If the investigators get leverage on him (a big if), he may be able to sing to protect his own hide.

Evidence exists that this is a BIG scandal, considering hat happened to the first whistleblower:
Allegations that high-level State Department officials had stymied diplomatic security investigations first surfaced in 2013 when Aurelia Fedenisn, a former investigator in the State Department inspector general's office, told CBS that the February 2013 inspector general report had been heavily edited before its release.
Jen Psaki, then a spokeswoman for the State Department, said in response to the CBS report that "the notion that we would not vigorously pursue criminal any case is preposterous."
Fedenisn hired a Dallas-area law firm to represent her against the State Department after she was reportedly subjected to intimidation due to her whistleblower status.
That law firm was the victim of a break-in just weeks after the CBS report was published. The pair of thieves took only computers and files that contained information about Fedenisn, leaving untouched valuable items that included silver bars, the local Fox affiliate in Dallas reported.
Wow! Quite a coincidence, burglars taking away the files and leaving valuables behind. A veritable "third-rate burglary."

Nothing to see here. Move along. Or maybe not. Congress has the documents and subpoena power.

Thomas Lifson


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