Kerry lands on hot seat over State Department misconduct claims

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) is demanding that Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryThe continuous whipsawing of climate change policy Budowsky: United Democrats and Biden's New Deal Overnight Energy: 600K clean energy jobs lost during pandemic, report finds | Democrats target diseases spread by wildlife | Energy Dept. to buy 1M barrels of oil MORE provide him with the names of any State Department higher-ups who may have been involved in squashing internal investigations.


A leaked report from the department's Office of Inspector General alleges that the agency may have interfered in at least eight Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) cases concerning use of prostitutes and other abuses by State Department officials, including an ambassador. In a letter to Kerry, Royce said he was “deeply troubled” by the allegations of political meddling.

“The notion that any or all of these cases would not be investigated thoroughly by the Department is unacceptable,” Royce wrote. “In light of the possibility that the Department interfered with the independence of DSS investigations, I ask that you provide Committee staff with a briefing on this matter as soon as possible.”

He gave Kerry until June 25 to tell the committee whether the allegations of meddling are true and, if so, who was involved and what the department is doing about it.

The internal memo specifically alleges that the chief of staff to former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Americans debate life under COVID-19 risks The 10 Senate seats most likely to flip Stakes high for Collins in coronavirus relief standoff MORE, Cheryl Mills, asked investigators to stop looking into Obama's pick to be ambassador to Iraq. Brett McGurk dropped out of contention last year after his extra-marital affair with a Wall Street Journal reporter covering him became public.

The internal memo also says Under Secretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy called off a probe into allegations that Ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman, a top Obama donor, solicited prostitutes — a charge Gutman vehemently denies. The memo also says unidentified department personnel told an agent to drop his investigation into reports that Clinton's security detail solicited prostitutes during her travels abroad. 

Kennedy has denied the allegations. 

“The Foreign Service has been my life for over forty years and through several Secretaries of State,” he said in a statement. “I have always acted to honor the brave men and women I serve, while also holding accountable anyone guilty of wrongdoing. 

“In my current position, it is my responsibility to make sure the Department and all of our employees — no matter their rank — are held to the highest standard, and I have never once interfered, nor would I condone interfering, in any investigation.”

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