WASHINGTON — A Colorado House Republican indicated he was troubled by allegations that State Department employees engaged in illegal activities and the agency’s internal watchdog sought to cover them up.
Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs lamented the mere suggestion that personnel from the U.S. Department of State and the Diplomatic Security Service might have engaged in unprofessional and unethical behavior.
“These things should not have happened in the first place, and it’s sad that we should get into this. The State Department represents America to the rest of the world, and it has got an important role,” he said in an interview off the House floor Wednesday.
Lamborn, a member of the Armed Services Committee whose district includes the U.S. Air Force Academy and several military bases, is considered a leader on foreign affairs in the Colorado congressional delegation.
On Monday, CBS News reported that high-ranking State Department employees covered up or influenced multiple investigations by the agency’s Office of Inspector General.
In one case, a security officer in Beirut was accused of sexually assaulting foreign nationals hired as guards. In another, members of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s security detail received no more than a one-day suspension for procuring hookers in foreign countries. And in a third case, a State Department in employee in Baghdad ran an “underground drug ring” and supplied drugs to the agency’s security contractors.
On Tuesday, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki acknowledged that the agency is investigating some of the incidents but has closed its reviews on others. She did not specify. Yet Psaki said “the notion that we would not have vigorously pursued criminal conduct is not only preposterous, it’s inaccurate.”
The Diplomatic Security Service figures in several of the allegations. According to the its website, the agency helps provide security to the Secretary of State, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, visiting foreign dignitaries, and resident foreign diplomats.
The agency has 31 field offices in the United States, including one in Greenwood Village, Colorado.
The House and Senate foreign affairs committees would review allegations brought before them. Spokes people for both committees did not immediately respond to comments by press time.
A Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs panel said committee leaders have not discussed the matter.