More fun with the State Department: whistleblower harassment and possible perjury

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  • 08/21/2022

How's Aurelia Fedensin, the whistelblower who stepped forward to report on suppressed State Department scandals around the world, doing these days?  Not too well, according to a report at Foreign Policy:

The State Department investigator who accused colleagues last week of using drugs, soliciting prostitutes, and having sex with minors says that Foggy Bottom is now engaged in an "intimidation" campaign to stop her.

Last week's leaks by Aurelia Fedenisn, a former State Department inspector general investigator, shined a light on alleged wrongdoing by U.S. officials around the globe. But her attorney Cary Schulman tells The Cable that Fedenisn has paid a steep price: "They had law enforcement officers camp out in front of her house, harass her children and attempt to incriminate herself."

[...] After the CBS News made inquiries to the State Department about the charges, Schulman says investigators from the State Department's Inspector General promptly arrived at Fedenisn's door. "They talked to both kids and never identified themselves," he said. "First the older brother and then younger daughter, a minor, asking for their mom's place of work and cell phone number ... They camped out for four to five hours."

Schulman says the purpose of the visit was to get Fedenisn to sign a document admitting that she stole State Department materials, such as the memos leaked to CBS. Schulman says it was crucial that she didn't sign the document because her separation agreement with the State Department includes a provision allowing disclosures of misconduct. Furthermore, none of the materials were classified.

As Schulman points out, they could have simply mailed these papers to Fedenisn.  The Post Office needs all the business it can get these days.

The State Department Office of the Inspector General followed up on the story by telling Foreign Policy the agency "sought to retrieve the documents and information, and put the person who leaked them on notice not to distribute them further, nor distribute additional documents or information, in accordance with the standard 'Separation Statement' presented to all employees when leaving Department employ and signed by Ms. Fedenisn in December, 2012."  Some breaches of protocol are apparently taken much more seriously than others.

Meanwhile, a couple of top officials at the State Department's Diplomatic Security Service are under scrutiny for sworn testimony that seems to have been a bit less than forthcoming, according to Fox News:

The officials are Scott Bultrowicz, who until Feb. 1 served as director of DS, and Tracy H. Mahaffey, who remains the executive director of DS. In videotaped depositions conducted this past February, Bultrowicz claimed not to know about any claims by a federal agency that DS officials have failed to follow proper procedures; and Mahaffey claimed not to know about any pending investigations into DS.

Yet Fox News has obtained meeting notes, draft reports and other evidence that suggest both officials were aware, at the time they were deposed, of a pending investigation into DS and its operations by the State Department's Office of Inspector General (OIG). What's more, both officials had been apprised of the OIG's preliminary finding that DS did indeed fail to follow proper procedures in at least eight cases, and possibly more, because of "undue influence" and "pressure" brought to bear by senior State Department officials to halt internal investigations.

The evidence indicates the two officials were presented with those conclusions approximately 60 days before they testified in their depositions.

This testimony came after an experienced officer in the Diplomatic Security Service filed suit against Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, claiming he was targeted for demotion after refusing overseas assignments because his daughter was terminally ill.  Among the perjury defenses deployed by the officials in question is the claim that they asked if they knew about any active investigations, but the OIG was conducting inspections at the time, and those are, like, totally different.  Lovely.

Ironically, one of the topics covered at the meeting these State officials tried to forget about was the lack of "a firewall to preclude the DS and Department of State hierarchies from exercising undue influence in particular cases."  Which is pretty much what Aurelia Fedenisn blew the whistle on, isn't it?