I’ll give this one a few weeks to be blown all out of proportion, but the media powers on the right are drumming up a new scandal that promises to reach the level of congressional hearings, GOP presidential campaign posturing and breathless coverage from late-coming news outlets with “exclusive” developments.
Here’s the first volley:
WASHINGTON — A State Department whistleblower has accused high-ranking staff of a massive coverup — including keeping a lid on findings that members of then-Secretary Hillary Clinton’s security detail and the Belgian ambassador solicited prostitutes.
A chief investigator for the agency’s inspector general wrote a memo outlining eight cases that were derailed by senior officials, including one instance of interference by Clinton’s chief of staff, Cheryl Mills.
Any mention of the cases was removed from an IG report about problems within the Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS), which provides protection and investigates crimes involving any State Department workers overseas.
“It’s a coverup,” declared Cary Schulman, a lawyer representing the whistleblower, former State Department IG senior investigator Aurelia Fedenisn.“The whole agency is impaired.
That’s the breathless report from the New York Post, owned by Rupert Murdoch, so you know Fox News is gearing up the machinery for a full-blown account. And since Rupert is interested, the “legitimate” media will start following once Fox is in full force.
So let’s parse this.
The State Department is being blasted for not pursuing rumors of sexual actions by its representatives. This isn’t even third-hand knowledge. The people alleged to have done the deeds never said anything (they’d be stupid to). The people who made the allegations just said there were “rumors” that this was going on. And the people who passed on the rumors were questioned by at least a third party who filed a report of rumors. There are no police reports saying this happened. And unlike the sex scandal involving Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey, which now appears to have been a scam perpetrated by a right-wing media outlet, no prostitute has appeared before the microphones and said this happened.
If that’s not solid evidence, what is?
This doesn’t even rise to the level of last year’s Secret Service prostitution scandal. Remember that? When agents scouting Colombia before an official Obama visit solicited prostitutes and refused to pay for services rendered?
You see, that was a legitimate scandal because we had this little thing called PROOF! There was yelling in a hotel. Police were called. Prostitutes said “that guy didn’t give me my money.” It all was part of a police intervention. There’s no doubt it happened.
This incendiary State Department scandal is based on rumors with the flames being fanned by the usual mouthpieces.
Is there any validity to the rumors? No one knows. But let’s look at the reaction of the Belgian ambassador.
Gutman said today in a statement,”I am angered and saddened by the baseless allegations that have appeared in the press and to watch the four years I have proudly served in Belgium smeared is devastating.
“I live on a beautiful park in Brussels that you walk through to get to many locations and at no point have I ever engaged in any improper activity.”
I lived in Brussels. Here’s my interpretation and some information I’ve picked up from various sources.
The “beautiful park” nearest the U.S. Embassy in Brussels is Brussels Park across from the Palace not far from l’Église Notre Dame du Sablon and the museum area.
Given the context of the quote, the ambassador is saying that the allegations are that he was picking up prostitutes in this park.
Prostitutes don’t work that park. It’s a highly policed, popular tourist area. It’s the site of music festivals and art exhibits. Prostitutes would never be tolerated there.
Besides, the prostitutes are on display in windows outside the Gare du Nord or working an area south of the high end shops at the Toison d’Or. This is common knowledge.
Oh, yeah. And prostitution is legal in Belgium. If you’re trying to give a scandal a little more heft, throw in underage prostitutes. That’s illegal and seems to be the push that makes people in Europe pay attention. (Just ask Silvio Berlusconi.)
If the rumors are even trying to claim the ambassador was ditching his security detail and picking up hookers in Brussels Park, they’re absurd.
But if the rumors, as tenuous as they are, are true, why is this issue bubbling up now?
As if her 2016 White House intentions haven’t already been hashed and rehashed, Hillary Rodham Clinton renewed that conversation Monday with her very own hashtag – joining Twitter to much fanfare.
Oh! I see.
Hillary’s 2016 numbers come back down to Earth: Yes, it’s early to discuss 2016. Yes, everything right now is speculation. And, yes, so much can happen in the next two or three years. But it’s Friday, and we have a new 2016 poll to chew on. According to a new Quinnipiac survey, Hillary Clinton still looks strong against potential GOP competitors, but her numbers — not surprisingly — have come back down to earth. She leads both Jeb Bush (48%-40%) and Rand Paul (49%-41%) by eight points. Yet back in a March Quinnipiac survey, she was ahead of Marco Rubio by 16 points (50%-34%) and Paul Ryan by 12 (50%-38%), though her edge against the popular Chris Christie was smaller (45%-37%).
Oh! You see!
Hillary’s poll numbers are higher than all of her possible Republican opponents. The last GOP barrage was on Benghazi, which didn’t generate much traction, but did help to chip away the lead she had in earlier polls. So the anti-Hillary forces are going with sex scandals as the Benghazi backup.
I’m sure I’ll be posting more on this.