In 2013, it was first reported that the Clinton State Department had called off eight separate internal investigations into alleged misconduct by the diplomatic corps. When whistleblowers attempted to highlight the wave of coverups, they were subjected to a harassment campaign by the State Department. The law firm representing the former State Department employee who publicized the misconduct was broken into and key evidence stolen in an apparent effort to further obfuscate efforts to ensure a proper investigation into the crimes was carried out. The event was not given widespread attention by the media when it first emerged.
I. The U.S. Government Failed To Appoint An Inspector General For Five Years
Hillary Clinton was appointed to her position as Secretary of State on January 21, 2009, serving until February 1, 2013. From January 16, 2008 to September 30, 2013, the Obama administration had failed to appoint an Inspector General for the Department of State (DS). This led some lawmakers to question DS as to why the agency’s top watchdog position, tasked with investigating the practices of roughly 260 embassies worldwide, had been left empty for more than five years, creating the longest such vacancy in the history of any federal agency. This led Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and ranking member Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) to write a letter to then Secretary of State John Kerry requesting that he urge the President to nominate a permanent Inspector General for the Department of State as soon as possible. Because DS lacked an Inspector General, Harold W. Geisel, the Deputy Inspector General, was appointed the interim Inspector General of the State Department. Geisel would remain in this position for the next five years, until June 2013.
In 2013, it was first reported that the Clinton State Department had called off eight separate internal investigations into alleged misconduct by the diplomatic corps during the time that there was no appointed inspector general. Of these eight quashed investigations, the one which has found its way back into the limelight, as a result of the media’s complete blackout of President Trump’s human trafficking busts, is that of the former U.S. Ambassador to Belgium, Howard Gutman. MSNBC’s Chuck Todd detailed these allegations in a video report from early June of 2013.
II. Ambassador Gutman Was Shielded From Criminal Charges By The State Department
Howard W. Gutman was sworn in as the U.S. Ambassador to Belgium on August 14, 2009. Before being sworn into his role as Ambassador, Gutman was known to be one of President Obama’s top donors, raising a staggering $775,000 for the 2008 campaign and inauguration committee. In 2016, hacker Guccifer2.0 began releasing documents from the DNC and DCCC. According to these documents, Gutman is said to have raised a total of $816,550 for Obama For America (OFA) and $724,500 for the DNC. The donations are part of what was a culture of pay to play politics in the Obama administration. Four years later, Gutman would again be find himself in the public eye, after the release of a ‘damning’ internal memo.
According to this memo, the Department of State assigned an agent to conduct an investigation into possible criminal behavior involving the ambassador to Belgium. The agent reported that Ambassador Gutman would regularly leave his protective security detail, in order to solicit sexual favors from both prostitutes and minors. However, after only two days of preliminary inquiry, the agent was directed to stop any further investigation into the matter, because of a decision by senior Department officials to treat the matter as a “management issue.” In June of 2011, in response to the allegations and information obtained by the agent, Ambassador Gutman was recalled to Washington D.C., where he met with Under Secretary of State for Management Patrick F. Kennedy, and then Chief of Staff and Counselor to the Secretary of State, Cheryl Mills. During the meeting, the Ambassador denied all allegations of wrongdoing, and was then permitted to return to his post, with no further action being sought.
Despite the decision to terminate the investigation after only two days, DS Management argued to OIG that the decision was proper, as “no further investigation was possible”. However, in its findings, OIG concluded that DS was wrong, and that further evidence could have in fact been recovered. According to the memo, OIG found that over the course of the two-day investigation, “only one of multiple potential witnesses on the embassy’s security staff had been interviewed.” OIG further found that not only did DS fail to interview Ambassador Gutman, but DS did not follow its normal, established investigative procedures of assigning an investigative case number to the matter or opening. Lastly, OIG found that DS failed to even keep investigative case files on the matter.