The Obama administration just can't catch a break. After allegations that the IRS targeted certain conservative groups, Attorney General Eric Holder coming under fire for his questionable practices, and the leaking of the NSA's PRISM program, there is yet another scandal hitting the news.
According to an Inspector General memo discovered by CBS, the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), a group entrusted with protecting State Department officials and investigating claims of misconduct, regularly has its investigations manipulated or even called off entirely by high-ranking officials in order to protect political reputations or avoid scandals.
The memo cited eight different examples of this happening in the recent past. In Beirut, several security officers sexually assaulted foreign security guards, but the crime was covered up quietly instead of being properly investigated. In Baghdad, security officials were supplied with drugs from an underground drug ring, and again the investigation was not allowed to continue. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's own security guards were charged with hiring prostitutes in various foreign countries, and while they did receive some punishment (either a verbal admonishment or a one-day suspension), it apparently hasn't changed their behavior.
But the scandal doesn't just stop with low-level security detail. There was at least one U.S. ambassador in a "sensitive post" that allegedly ditched his security to have sex with prostitutes in public parks. The memo states that he was called to the U.S. to have a special meeting, apparently as a result of his behavior, but he was allowed to return to his post with no repercussions.
Though the memo is absolutely clear on the fact that the integrity of the DSS's investigations is compromised and that such indiscretions are a huge risk to the U.S. government in both reputation and security, what it's not clear on is who to blame.
A former member of the inspector general's office has gone on record to say that the DSS itself should not be held accountable, as its members want to conduct thorough investigations but are prevented from doing so.
Some may want to go to the other extreme and blame Hillary Clinton, who was secretary of state during many of these botched investigations. But according to CBS, Clinton was often not in the loop on these investigations either. For example, when Clinton made inquiries about her own security detail in the wake of 2012's Secret Service prostitution scandal, she was told that there were no such problems in her own staff, though it is now clear that there were many.
The only charge made here is that "senior State Department officials" were in charge of deciding who and what was investigated or ignored, and the former member of the inspector general's office has only said that while interference is expected when dealing with such sensitive matters, "how high up [the influence] went was very disturbing."
These charges will surely continue to be investigated in the media, and hopefully we will find the true identity of those who controlled the strings on DSS investigations, but the most damage from this memo leak goes to the Obama administration, who must surely be exhausted by now at handling the blowback from yet another scandal.