Jun 19, 2013 03:30 pm | Jeff Dunetz
When administration officials lie before Congress, politics usually helps them get out of the mess they put themselves into. However when you lie in court testimony....let's just say judges are not as forgiving as politicians.
Fox News is reporting that two top officials at the Diplomatic Security Service (DS) of the State Department, Scott Bultrowicz, who until Feb. 1 served as director of DS, and Tracy H. Mahaffey, who is the executive director gave sworn video testimony that doesn't quite jive with the truth (the DS protects our diplomats and investigates when there are allegations of misconduct by a department employee).
In the testimony conducted in February 2013, Bultrowicz said he didn't know about any claims by a federal agency that DS officials have failed to follow proper procedures; and Mahaffey said she was unaware of any pending investigations into DS.
Fox News' James Rosen recieved 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.
Lawyers and experts contacted by Fox News said the implications could be staggering for a federal law enforcement agency whose officers frequently testify in criminal prosecutions if two of its top officials were deemed to have testified untruthfully in sworn proceedings.
Is Rosen trying to get his phone tapped again?
The two officials' testimony was taken as part of discovery proceedings in a little-known lawsuit that has been snaking its way through the courts and various administrative venues for several years. DS agent Rick Higbie, a 15-year veteran of the force presently detailed to the U.S. attorney's office in Dallas, is suing Hillary Clinton in her official capacity as former secretary of state, on the grounds that DS sought to demote Higbie after he declined -- citing the chronic and terminal illness of his daughter -- to serve in overseas assignments. The State Department rejects Higbie's claims and the trial is slated to commence in Texas in October.
Yet Fox News has obtained contemporaneous notes taken a Dec. 14 session, the meeting notes which makes clear,
the attendees discussed the preliminary findings of the OIG investigation into the practices and conduct of DS. These findings included the very first of the "key judgments" presented: "The Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) Special Investigations Division (SID), which investigates allegations of criminal and administrative misconduct, lacks a firewall to preclude the DS and Department of State (Department) hierarchies from exercising undue influence in particular cases."
The draft also stated, as its third "key judgment": "DS does not have adequate quality assurance measures to be able to ascertain on a regular basis that adequate internal safeguards and management procedures exist to ensure investigations comport with law enforcement standards."
Finally, in the body of the draft, OIG stated: "The OIG team heard of instances where senior DS officials may have improperly influenced investigations. The team was also advised that high-level Department officials may have once or twice a year brought pressure to bear to improperly halt or influence investigations, including into allegations of serious criminal conduct."
In other words despite their testimony two months later, by mid-December both officials were aware of claims by a federal agency that DS officials failed to follow proper procedures and that the DS was being investigated.
Former U.N. ambassador John Bolton, whose professional experience includes the practice of law and a stint as an under secretary of state, said the testimony appeared designed not to acknowledge the existence of the problems cited by the OIG investigating team.
"I think perjury is certainly one explanation," he told Fox News. "It undercuts the credibility of the entire agency, in this case the Diplomatic Security Bureau. And it undercuts the testimony of other DS agents that they might have to provide, in other law enforcement matters. ... It really goes to the legitimacy of the entire bureau and unfortunately calls into question the investigations that it's undertaking."
Perhaps we should give Hilary Clinton's State Department a break, after all this is only the third time senior people in her department have been been wrapped in scandal. And to be fair, Clinton left office a few days before the depositions of Bultrowicz and Mahaffey she probably had nothing to do with the mis-telling of the truth--that's not how she operates ( except for Benghazi and that little thing about the ambassador and teenaged hookers). O.K. Perhaps this story is not so shocking after-all.
You can find the full story here at Fox News