This evening, the White House announced a new nominee to be the next U.S. ambassador to Belgium:
President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts:
· Denise Bauer – Ambassador to Belgium, Department of State
The announcement comes only weeks after the current ambassador to Belgium, Howard Gutman, was accused of soliciting underage prostitutes. As the New York Post reported recently:
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.
Interestingly, the White House press secretary, Jay Carney, said that they were standing by their guy until an investigation was completed. "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
Q One other topic. CBS broke the story a couple days ago about the State Department -- about a memo from an official in the State Department inspector general’s office claiming that a special agent had “determined” that Ambassador Gutman in Belgium was ditching his security detail to engage prostitutes and to allegedly solicit sex with children. He has sharply denied that. Is the President confident in the denial to keep Ambassador Gutman in place? And what is the President’s reaction to the State Department allegedly shutting this down?
MR. CARNEY: Well, let me say a couple of things. These allegations are currently under investigation by an independent inspector general. There is no final report on these inquiries by the independent inspector general. 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.
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.
Q I appreciate that distinction. One last thing on this, which is you say it’s still under investigation, the allegations against the ambassador. But there are also allegations in this memo against Patrick Kennedy, who’s a very high State Department official, suggesting that he killed the original investigation, sort of blocked it, to protect Ambassador Gutman and maybe others. My question is, does Under Secretary Kennedy’s conduct here, is that under investigation as far as the White House --
MR. CARNEY: 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.