Monday morning, CBS News initially misreported that it “has unearthed documents from the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), an internal watchdog agency, that implicate the State Department in a series of misconducts worldwide.” (Emphasis added.)
By mid afternoon Monday, CBS corrected its earlier misidentification of the State Department’s “internal watchdog agency” as the Diplomatic Security Service (officially known as the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, or “DS”). That internal watchdog agency, CBS noted, is in fact the Office of Inspector General. CBS News released a clarification in an “updated” article Monday afternoon:
According to an internal State Department Inspector General’s memo, several recent investigations were influenced, manipulated, or simply called off. The memo obtained by CBS News cited eight specific examples. Among them: allegations that a State Department security official in Beirut “engaged in sexual assaults” on foreign nationals hired as embassy guards and the charge 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.”
The bigger endemic “watchdog” problem for the Department of State, as I wrote in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal on June 5, is that its Office of Inspector General has been without a Senate-confirmed IG for more than five years. Likewise, for years President Obama has been derelict in his duty to fill vacant inspector-general posts at the departments of Labor, Interior, Defense, Homeland Security, and at the Agency for International Development
The Office of Inspector General is a congressionally mandated “independent and objective unit” within the Department of State, the head of which is supposed to be appointed by the president and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, and by law may not be “a career member of the Foreign Service.” According to a letter sent to President Obama by the nonprofit Project for Government Oversight in November 2010, the absence of a Senate-confirmed IG at State was a major problem; the letter noted in particular the longtime personal friendship between the temporary deputy IG (a retired ambassador who served at that time — and still serves today — as the de facto State IG) and State’s undersecretary for management, Patrick Kennedy, who at the time was “responsible for the people, resources facilities, technology, consular affairs, and security of the Department of State.” Kennedy, in other words, was a close personal friend of the man responsible for inspecting and reviewing State’s (and Kennedy’s) performance.