The State Department has hired a significant number of law-enforcement agents with criminal or checkered backgrounds, limiting their ability to police bad conduct and prosecute wrongdoers, The New York Post reported.
According to an internal memo obtained by the paper, some of the roughly 2,000 agents in the State Department security detail have become the subject of investigations themselves due to misconduct.
"Department intakes of new … officers since the hiring surge a decade ago have reportedly been flawed, with 'mitigation' of troubling histories including criminal matters," says the December 2012 memo to State Deputy Inspector General Harold Geisel from a team leader in the inspector general's office, according to the Post.
"Too many people entering the [Diplomatic Security and Information Management] communities end up as subjects of [Special Investigation Division] investigations and HR adjudications … and can play only limited roles thereafter," the memo says.
The Post also obtained a letter written by the union for foreign-service agents asserting a pattern of "questionable tactics and unprofessional conduct" by Diplomatic Security staff. According to the Post, the document cited one case in which agents used such aggressive interrogation tactics that an employee attempted suicide.
The revelations point to yet more problems in the ranks of the State Department,
which has recently been accused of covering up misconduct and illegal activities, including an underground drug ring, sexual assault, and the hiring of prostitutes by members of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's security detail.
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