In the wake of lurid accusations against his ambassador to Belgium, Barack Obama's White House announced that a replacement has been nominated. On June 21, the White House announced a new nominee to be the next U.S. ambassador to Belgium. Denise Bauer will replace Ambassador Howard Gutman, who has been accused of soliciting underage girls for sex. Gutman has persisted in denying the accusations. A memo drafted by a high-ranking State Department official accusing the diplomat was revealed in a report by CBS.
A chief investigator working for the inspector general's office of the State Department also accused high-ranking staff working for then-Secretary Hillary Clinton of a massive cover-up and interference in revelations that Ambassador Gutman and Clinton's security detail were involved in illegal sexual transactions. In one instance, Clinton's chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, was specified as having interfered. The whistleblower was former investigator Aurelia Fedenisn, who denounced eight cases of sexual improprieties by the Clinton State Department.
White House Press Secretary appeared to be defensive about Ambassador Gutman but insisted in press conference that Obama disapproved of the alleged conduct by the U.S. diplomatic personnel and that an investigation is ongoing. "And as in keeping with the position we take when we are dealing with independent inspector general investigations or audits, we will not comment until we have seen the results of that investigation. And there’s a process in place for reviewing any sort of allegation of misconduct the likes of which you mentioned, and we believe that that process should unfold under regular order, and we’re not going to prejudge anyone or anything before all the facts are determined," said Carney.
He added, "That said, I want to make clear the President has zero tolerance for misconduct by any government employee. And I think his zero tolerance for misconduct has been demonstrated amply throughout his presidency. But we’re not going to prejudge based on unfinished investigations by an independent IG." There has been no full-time inspector general, the official responsible for investigating and enforcing applicable law with the State Department, throughout the Obama administration.
Regarding allegations that Undersecretary of State for Management, Patrick F. Kennedy, had killed the original investigation into alleged misdeeds by Gutman and diplomatic security, Carney dodged. "I believe all of these matters that you raise are under investigation, active investigation by the independent IG at the State Department. And we will not prejudge the outcome of an ongoing inquiry like that."
In another black eye for Clinton's legacy as Obama's chief diplomat came when a whistleblower claimed that she was forced to resign from the State Department because she exposed allegations that U.S. Consul General Donald Moore had compromised security by engaging in sexual harassment of consulate personnel as well as solicitation of sex from prostitutes. Kerry Howard was a community liaison officer at the consulate in Naples, Italy, and claims that she was bullied and harassed into her resignation. According to Howard, swept the allegations under the rug, according to an Equal Employment Opportunity complaint the former diplomat filed with the State Department’s Office of Civil Rights.
In an interview with the Washington Post, Howard said "It’s cover-up after cover-up. It’s absolutely hideous,” adding “When our diplomats disrespect the Italians by hiring and firing them because they have seen too much — or use them for ‘sex-ercise’ — we have to question why we have diplomats abroad at taxpayer expense.”