After the news broke that the ambassador to Belgium and members of his security detail had allegedly been soliciting prostitutes, including in some cases minors, President Obama quietly announced that he would reward another major fundraiser, Denise Bauer, by naming her as the replacement for that post. Bauer had been “finance chair for Women for Obama and raised more than $500,000 for the president’s re-election campaign”—classic qualifications, apparently, for the President who was going to change the way Washington does business.
As Accuracy in Media has noted, the State Department, under Hillary Clinton, may have actually covered up eight different investigations—if not more, including the one involving the Belgian ambassador. These investigations include allegations of prostitution, pedophilia, sexual assault, and drug purchases. They risk embroiling this presidential hopeful—Mrs. Clinton—in a series of scandals come the 2016 election, if the media were to give a damn. “A true champion of women and children should not have this stain on her record,” writes Salena Zito for Real Clear Politics, adding that “like a splattering of blood-red berries on a white-linen tablecloth, it will serve as a constant reminder that she did not speak for those who had no voice.”
“But one other thing should disturb any observer: Here was Clinton, the self-proclaimed champion of women and children, apparently standing by as women and children were abused by people who worked for her—and the only proactive step of her trusted staff was to cover it all up,” writes Zito.
There is another disturbing aspect to this story. The whistle blower who revealed the cover-up of these investigations, Aurelia Fedenisn, has borne the brunt of State Department bullying as a result of her efforts to bring the cover-ups to light. Fedenisn was formerly an investigator at the State Department’s Office of the Inspector General.“[The Department] had law enforcement officers camp out in front of her house, harass her children and attempt to incriminate herself,” Fedenisn’s attorney, Cary Schulman, told Foreign Policy Magazine’s The Cable.
Now the Administration threatens to become embroiled in a Watergate-style scandal; the law offices of Schulman and Mathias were broken into multiple times over this past weekend. That’s the same offices as those representing Fedenisn. We are reminded once again of the Nixon Administration, whose “Plumbers” broke into the office of the psychiatrist of Daniel Ellsberg.
Only their offices in the high rise full of other offices were targeted. An unlocked office down the hall was passed by, untouched. Three computers were stolen and a file cabinet was rifled through while silver bars were passed over. Clearly, the burglars were after information, not valuables.
“My most high-profile case right now is the Aurelia Fedenisn case, and I can’t think of any other case where someone would go to these great lengths to get our information,” Schulman told John Hudson of The Cable.
Schulman told Fox KDFW News that he had contacted the FBI to look into the burglary because it may be political. But, he told The Cable, he doesn’t think it was perpetrated by the State Department itself. “It wasn’t professional enough,” Schulman told Hudson. “It is possible that an Obama or Hillary supporter feels that I am unfairly going after them. And the timing of this is right after several weeks of very public media attention so it seems to me most likely that the information sought is related to that case. I don’t know for sure and I want the police to do their work.”
Perhaps it wasn’t perpetrated by the State Department, but it might have been sanctioned by a rogue Department official bent on revenge, or someone who has been politically hurt by the revelations.
The State Department, regardless, has been quick to deny allegations of wrongdoing. “Any allegation that the Department of State authorized someone to break into Mr. Schulman's law firm is false and baseless,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
This wouldn’t be the first time that Psaki has been caught in a fib. As a matter of fact, just days earlier, as reported by Mediaite, Psaki called all reports that John Kerry was boating during the military coup in Egypt “completely inaccurate.” She stuck by that story, even as evidence to the contrary began to surface. The story that Kerry had been on his yacht was first reported by a CBS This Morning producer. Finally, when photos popped up online, Psaki acknowledged that Kerry was on his boat, if only briefly: “While he was briefly on his boat on Wednesday, Secretary Kerry worked around the clock all day including participating in the president’s meeting with his national security council.”
Some in the media, such as Erik Wemple of The Washington Post, pushed a narrative that some journalists are hypocrites, and won’t give Kerry a break, while they do their work from the beach or other vacations spots. The real issue, however, is that the State Department’s first instinct was to lie, just as it was under Hillary Clinton during the Benghazi scandal. Once the photos were posted online, that position became untenable.
As for the investigations into the allegations of wrongdoing at the State Department, Psaki said at the time that “the notion that we would not vigorously pursue criminal misconduct is not only preposterous, it’s inaccurate.” Yet, the revelations brought about by Fedenisn have clearly gotten under someone’s skin.
Roger Aronoff is the Editor of Accuracy in Media, and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.