Cover-Up of Prostitution Solicitation by U.S. Ambassador and State Department Personnel Alleged

Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Howard Gutman and his wife, Michelle Loewinger (photo: Belga)

Controversies from within the Obama administration just keep surfacing—now it’s the State Department and allegations of cover-ups and government officials soliciting prostitutes.


A document from the State Department’s Office of Inspector General (IG) revealed that agency officials attempted to influence, manipulate and even shut down several internal probes conducted by the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS, the State Department’s security force), according to CBS News.


The memo reportedly addressed eight troubling episodes involving officials, including the U.S. Ambassador to Belgium, Howard Gutman, suspected of routinely patronizing underage prostitutes in a public park. The incident was investigated in 2011 and Gutman was recalled to Washington, D.C. He was instructed to meet with Undersecretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy, but was then allowed to return to his post.


Other allegations included a State Department security official in Beirut, Lebanon, who may have sexually assaulted foreign nationals hired as embassy guards, and members of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s security detail who were accused of engaging “prostitutes while on official trips in foreign countries”—a problem the report said was “endemic.” It was subsequently reported in the media that it was during Clinton’s visits to Russia and Colombia that seven members of her security team brought prostitutes to their hotels.


The memo also mentioned details about an “underground drug ring” operating near the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, that supplied State Department security contractors with drugs.


Aurelia Fedenisn, a former investigator with the IG’s office and a DSS agent for 26 years, told CBS News that senior State Department officials ordered her and her colleagues to stop probing the wrongdoing.


“We were very upset. We expect to see influence, but the degree to which that influence existed and how high up it went, was very disturbing,” she said.


Fedenisn said that a high-ranking State Department official, when shown a draft of the findings pertaining to the interference in the investigations, remarked, “This is going to kill us.” She subsequently found that, in the final draft of the IG report, all references to the cases had been eliminated.


CBS News reported that within two hours of the network making inquiries with the State Department regarding the allegations, investigators from its IG office appeared at Fedenisn’s front door.


Representative Ed Royce (R-California), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said he intends to ask Secretary of State John Kerry about the claims.


“I am appalled not only at the reported misconduct itself, but at the reported interference in the investigations of the misconduct,” Royce said.


Last year another prostitution scandal plagued the U.S. Secret Service when it was discovered that a dozen agents who had traveled to Colombia as part of President Obama’s advance security detail engaged the services of prostitutes during a night on the town. During that investigation, it was found that agents of the Drug Enforcement Agency were also involved.

-Noel Brinkerhoff, Danny Biederman


To Learn More:

State Department Memo Reveals Possible Cover-Ups, Halted Investigations (CBS News)

Prostitution, Drugs, Coverup? Obama’s State Dep’t Under Fire (by Patrick Goodenough, CNSNews)

Investigation Revisits Secret Service Prostitution Scandal (by Greg Seaby, CNN)

FBI Accused of Hiring Underage Prostitutes to Trap Gun Traffickers (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)       

Republicans Demand Obama Fire Ambassador to Belgium Over Comments on Anti-Semitism (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)      


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