State Dept. Pushes Back on Report of Prostitutes, Cover-ups

PHOTO: People walk past the U.S. State Department building, July 6, 2011, in Washington, D.C.
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The State Department is strongly denying allegations from a former department investigator who claimed top officials tried to halt or delay several potentially damaging investigations.

Aurelia Fedenisn, the whistle-blowing former investigator, also claimed that when the department's Office of Inspector General tried to expose the interference in a report, that language was scrubbed.

A senior State Department official offered a point-by-point pushback in response to an internal Office of Inspector General memo dated Oct. 23, 2012, obtained by ABC News, that detailed eight investigations by the investigative arm of the department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security.

The memo alleged that, in those cases, senior officials interfered with the investigations.

The cases, according to the memo, included allegations that an ambassador solicited prostitutes in a park near a U.S. embassy, that several members of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's security detail hired prostitutes while on official travel, and that a drug ring was running near the U.S. embassy in Baghdad.

In each of those cases, the memo alleged, more senior officials, including, in some cases, individuals close to Clinton, called off the investigations.

But the senior official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject, insisted that the investigations were not called off for political reasons. Instead, the official claimed, full investigations were done and in many cases there was insufficient evidence to warrant prosecutions or in-house discipline.

A Nov. 20, 2012 draft of the inspector general's report, also obtained by ABC News, included many of the details included in the Oct. 23 memo, as well as attempts to block the investigations.

A Dec. 4, 2012 draft, however, watered down the language, focusing more on the need for investigative independence.

By the time the final report was issued in February, all of the details were removed, reduced to a line that the investigative arm of diplomatic security "does not have that independence."

But again, the senior State Department official claimed the language was removed because, when asked to provide evidence to back up those claims, the Office of Inspector General was unable to do so.

"Tell us when and show us how," the official recalled saying. "Show me."

An official from the State Department Office of Inspector General offered a similar account, telling ABC News that the language was removed from the final report because there was not enough evidence to prove any wrongdoing.

The State Department also denied any wrongdoing publicly.

"We take allegations of misconduct seriously and we investigate thoroughly," spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters Monday.

Psaki said that the State Department has responded to recommendations made in the inspector general's report, but took issue with the report's assertion that senior State Department management had any undue influence on investigations.

"I can say broadly that the notion that we would not vigorously pursue criminal misconducts in a case, in any case, is preposterous," she said. "And we've put individuals behind bars for criminal behavior. There is record of that.

"Ambassadors would be no exception," she added.

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