With all of the whistleblowing going on in Washington these days, it is easy to lose track of a scandal or two in the cacophony. The allegations involving former-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private security detail hiring prostitutes while on trips with her might be one of them, not to mention reports of an ambassador trolling for prostituted children in a Belgian park.
CBS News reported June 10, on an internal State Department Inspector General’s (IG) memo about “several recent investigations [which] were influenced, manipulated, or simply called off.”
Among them “that members of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s security detail ‘engaged prostitutes while on official trips in foreign countries’ — a problem the report says was ‘endemic.’”
CBS News also reported, “In one specific and striking cover-up, State Department agents told the Inspector General they were told to stop investigating the case of a U.S. Ambassador who held a sensitive diplomatic post and was suspected of patronizing prostitutes in a public park.”
A former special investigator with the State Department’s IG office, Aurelia Fedenisn, is blowing the whistle on these scuttled investigations as CBS News reported, because Diplomatic Security Services (DSS) agents told the IG’s investigators “that senior State Department officials told them to back off.” That was accomplished, in part, by removing these cases from the final IG report.
Let’s first explore the allegation about Clinton’s security detail hiring prostitutes. According to the New York Post, “At least seven agents in Clinton’s security detail hired prostitutes while traveling with her in various countries, including Russia and Colombia. But the agents involved got little more than a wrist-slap. Three were removed from the security detail, given one-day suspensions and reassigned.”
The Post also reported, “The memo references a ‘rumor’ that after the Secret Service hooker scandal broke, Clinton asked the agent-in-charge of her security detail whether any ‘similar activities’ had happened. The response was: ‘No,’ according to the memo.” If true, is it any wonder former-Secretary Hillary Clinton evaded answers as to why there were four dead Americans in Benghazi on her watch, when she cannot ferret out security agents using prostitutes right under her nose?
What difference does it make?
Well, the Secretary of State oversees the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP Office), which is an office dedicated to abolishing sex trafficking and forced labor worldwide. The demand for prostitution leads to sex trafficking, ergo, those who purchase sex contribute to the sexual slavery of women, children, and men. Those who turn a blind eye to these johns are just as complicit.
In 2010 then-Secretary Clinton touted the tenth annual TIP Report and the newly added ranking of the United States:
"The Report, for the first time, includes a ranking of the United States based on the same standards to which we hold other countries. The United States takes its first-ever ranking not as a reprieve but as a responsibility to strengthen global efforts against modern slavery, including those within America. This human rights abuse is universal, and no one should claim immunity from its reach or from the responsibility to confront it."
“[R]esponsibility to confront it,” rests on what the meaning of what “confront” is, evidently. If her “reach” did not extend to her security detail, surely it reached to an ambassador alleged to publicly troll for prostitutes, no?
The Post article also reports that a Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) agent’s investigation into whether U.S. Ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman, a big Democrat donor, solicited prostitutes was ordered closed by Undersecretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy. Is this what then-Secretary Clinton’s “reach” meant?
According to the Post, Ambassador Gutman, who still serves as Ambassador to Belgium by the way, was discussed in the leaked memo: “The agent began his investigation and had determined that the ambassador routinely ditched his protective security detail in order to solicit sexual favors from both prostitutes and minor children,” says the memo. “The ambassador’s protective detail and the embassy’s surveillance detection team . . . were well aware of the behavior.”
Where have we heard similar allegations of a U.S. citizen flying to another country to exploit minors in prostitution?
Oh that’s right, Sen. Menendez (D-N.J.) is alleged to have flown to the Dominican Republic to have sex with prostituted children.
That’s the same Sen. Menendez who co-sponsored the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2011, which died in committee but was passed in a similar form as Senate Amendment 21 to the Violence Against Women Act of 2013 (S. 47) and which Menendez supported.
It’s probably just a coincidence that these two bills promote the decriminalization of prostitution for minors in the United States.
Sen. Menendez remains in Congress, former-Secretary Clinton’s security agents remain employed by the State Department, which has an office dedicated to eradicating commercial sexual exploitation, and Ambassador Gutman remains in a political appointment.
Is this the standard “to which we hold other countries?”
The 2013 Trafficking in Persons Report is due out any day now and, tragically for sex slaves around the world, its white noise will probably drown out the whistleblowers.
Brenda Zurita is Research Fellow of the Beverly LaHaye Institute, the think tank for Concerned Women for America.
Penny Young Nance is president and CEO of Concerned Women for America.