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Could State Department woes tarnish Hillary Clinton’s image?

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Other accusations include existence of a “drug ring” near the US Embassy in Baghdad that supplied drugs to State Department security contractors, as well as claims of serial sexual assaults by a department security official in a string of overseas assignments.

What seems clear is that Republicans have no intention of leaving the latest charges of mismanagement in the Clinton State Department alone.

The Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Ed Royce of California, said he is “appalled” by “reported interference in the investigations” into alleged misconduct, and he called on Secretary Kerry to deliver a full explanation of the allegations.

Chairman Royce – whose committee questioned Clinton on the Benghazi attack in a January hearing before she left office – said in a statement that he is directing his staff to begin investigating the allegations of “interference with the independence of” the State Department’s internal investigations.

The charges of diplomatic misconduct and subsequent quashing of investigations surfaced Monday in a CBS report based on a 2012 memo out of the State Department’s Office of Inspector General. The memo concerns an inspector general’s report evaluating the performance of the investigative division of the department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security.

A former State Department investigator who worked on the inspector general’s report made it available after becoming concerned that a final draft, released in March, watered down the investigation’s findings.

The report’s accusations of ambassadorial misconduct regarded the US ambassador to Belgium, Howard Gutman. Ambassador Gutman responded quickly to the accusations, saying in a statement Tuesday that he was “angered and saddened by the baseless allegations.” He called the “smearing” of his four years of service in Belgium “devastating.”

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