Another perjury issue in the executive branch?

posted at 10:41 am on June 19, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

James Rosen has moved on to other stories than the North Korea policy issue that earned him a Department of Justice accusation of being a co-conspirator to espionage and a flight risk.  Rosen’s not the DoJ’s headache any longer, but he might be the latest headache for the State Department.  Two officials at Foggy Bottom denied knowing anything about corrupted investigations at State during depositions in a personnel lawsuit, but documents uncovered by Rosen show both had participated in a meeting where the issue was raised:

Two top officials at the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service (DS) — the federal law enforcement agency that protects American diplomats and investigates allegations of criminal misconduct by State Department employees — gave sworn testimony earlier this year that appears to be evasive at best, and untrue at worst, according to evidence obtained by Fox News.

The officials are Scott Bultrowicz, who until Feb. 1 served as director of DS, and Tracy H. Mahaffey, who remains the executive director of DS. In videotaped depositions conducted this past February, Bultrowicz claimed not to know about any claims by a federal agency that DS officials have failed to follow proper procedures; and Mahaffey claimed not to know about any pending investigations into DS.

Yet Fox News has obtained meeting notes, draft reports and other evidence that suggest both officials were aware, at the time they were deposed, of a pending investigation into DS and its operations by the State Department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG). What’s more, both officials had been apprised of the OIG’s preliminary finding that DS did indeed fail to follow proper procedures in at least eight cases, and possibly more, because of “undue influence” and “pressure” brought to bear by senior State Department officials to halt internal investigations.

The evidence indicates the two officials were presented with those conclusions approximately 60 days before they testified in their depositions.

The odd part of this alleged perjury is that it seems rather superfluous to the case to begin with.  The issue with DS agent Richard Higbie was that he was demoted (or at least that State attempted to demote him) after refusing to accept overseas assignments at the investigative agency. Higbie claims that the demotion was a retaliation for his refusal, which was necessitated by his daughter’s serious illness; State disputes that, saying the personnel actions followed proper State procedure.

That left the door wide open to questions like these in February of this year:

During the proceedings, Higbie’s lawyer, Cary Schulman of Dallas, engaged in the following colloquy with Bultrowicz:

SCHULMAN: Are you aware of any governmental agency, the United States Congress, or any other governmental investigative body that has similar criticisms of Diplomatic Security’s failure to have or follow through proper administrative policy or procedures?

BULTROWICZ: None that come to my mind right now.

Earlier, Schulman had engaged in a similar exchange with Mahaffey:

SCHULMAN: Are you aware of any investigations by any agency, federal government or otherwise, into Diplomatic Security, into whether they uniformly or properly administer their policies in connection with employees or the administration of diplomatic security?

MAHAFFEY: I’m not aware of any.

The questions didn’t pertain to the State Department DS scandal directly, and that scandal doesn’t have much to do with Higbie.  He’s not claiming whistleblower status in that case.  It may end up being germane enough to put Bultrowicz and Mahaffey in legal jeopardy, but that seems a stretch.  For perjury to stick, it has to be a material falsehood that impacts the present case, not just an oversight or a fib on an unrelated point — and on top of that, the prosecution would have to prove intent.  Given the disparate contexts between the two cases, that will be a tougher sell than usual for any perjury charge.

At the least, though, it shows that there seems to be a culture of opacity, at the very least, in this administration.  For Rosen, that’s an extra added payoff against an administration that targeted him as a criminal for what has traditionally been known as reporting.

Note: Video at the link.

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What difference, at this point in time, does it make? /Killery ’16

trs on June 19, 2013 at 10:43 AM

This ‘Smart Power’ admin has a talent for creating dedicated enemies.

RiverCocytus on June 19, 2013 at 10:45 AM

State Department Officials lying to Congress….This is shocking

workingclass artist on June 19, 2013 at 10:45 AM

“Look folks…We’re busy with our diplomatic mission of trolling for minors in parks, hookers & drugs…So kwitcher b*tchin’…” – US State Department.

workingclass artist on June 19, 2013 at 10:47 AM

State Department Officials lying to Congress….This is shocking…

workingclass artist on June 19, 2013 at 10:45 AM

Let me know when we have 5 dead children and video of barky murdering them. Then maybe I’ll take a look – lsm.

VegasRick on June 19, 2013 at 10:48 AM

The trail to tyranny…..is incrementalism.

And it started in 1913 by Woodrow Wilson……the father of the IRS

PappyD61 on June 19, 2013 at 10:48 AM

State?

Perjury?

No.

In diplomatic terms, one would say it is a matter of necessitative creative deflective construct of language to prevent one’s being put into an untenable negative position vis-a-vis governance.

coldwarrior on June 19, 2013 at 10:50 AM

Scooter Libby could not be reached for comment.

RoadRunner on June 19, 2013 at 10:50 AM

60 days is a long time, I’m sure it just slipped their mind. I know when I’m investigated for criminal misconduct I just blow it off as the same ol’ same ol’.

Fenris on June 19, 2013 at 10:50 AM

“If these folks lied under oath, they are just following the example set by top U.S. government officials like Eric Holder and James Clapper.

Clapper’s defense: it depends on what the meaning of the word is collect is. By saying we don’t “collect” data on Americans, I didn’t mean “collect,” you see, I meant “look at.” (Maybe it depends on the definition of the word “wittingly”!)

Holder’s defense: it depends on what the meaning of the word is “potential” is. By saying I never “heard of” a “potential prosecution,” you see, I didn’t mean “potential,” I meant we hadn’t actually prosecuted anyone. (“The attorney general’s statement that no journalists have been prosecuted under the Espionage Act during his tenure is accurate.”)

If the State Department folks lied under oath, they can certainly construct defenses less ridiculous than this.

They can just say they were answering the questions in the “least untruthful” manner possible…”

http://patterico.com/2013/06/19/james-rosen-state-department-officials-may-have-committed-perjury/

workingclass artist on June 19, 2013 at 10:51 AM

Do these people ever tell the truth about anything?

forest on June 19, 2013 at 10:52 AM

B-b-but Nancy Pelosi did that and it was legal… Why an I being punished for the same thing?!?

Skywise on June 19, 2013 at 10:54 AM

OT: CBS connects Tim Tebow to murder

faraway on June 19, 2013 at 10:56 AM

Do these people ever tell the truth about anything?

forest on June 19, 2013 at 10:52 AM

“Politics have no relation to morals.” – Machiavelli

workingclass artist on June 19, 2013 at 10:58 AM

some gal wrote a book titled Culture of Corruption, man was she ever on it or what?

DanMan on June 19, 2013 at 11:00 AM

Go Rosen

cmsinaz on June 19, 2013 at 11:01 AM

And it started in 1913 by Woodrow Wilson……the father of the IRS

PappyD61 on June 19, 2013 at 10:48 AM

Yes, it did.

dogsoldier on June 19, 2013 at 11:07 AM

Scooter Libby could not be reached for comment.

RoadRunner on June 19, 2013 at 10:50 AM

I, too, immediately thought of Scooter Libby.

Bitter Clinger on June 19, 2013 at 11:17 AM

I, um .. er, …:

“I think a lot of the problem he had today was the late afternoon sun in Berlin ruined his use of the teleprompter and so his usual dramatic windup was ruined,” Matthews said immediately after the speech. “I think he was really struggling with the text there.”

http://www.nationalreview.com/351447/matthews-berlin-sun-ruined-obamas-speech-andrew-johnson

davidk on June 19, 2013 at 11:19 AM

What difference, at this point in time, does it make? /Killery ’16

trs on June 19, 2013 at 10:43 AM

Scooter Libby could not be reached for comment.

RoadRunner on June 19, 2013 at 10:50 AM

And neither could Vince Foster.

davidk on June 19, 2013 at 11:21 AM

I’m starting to get sick of all these show hearings. What possible difference does the truth mean when everyone involved gets to revised and extend their remarks at a later date, our of the public eye?

Cindy Munford on June 19, 2013 at 11:23 AM

War is peace.
Ignorance is strength.
Lying is transparency.

I believe we are due for another chocolate ration increase soon.

jukin3 on June 19, 2013 at 11:30 AM

Obama in Berlin .. a repeat performance from 5 years ago
except 196,000 of the 200,000 there 5 years ago stay home

J_Crater on June 19, 2013 at 11:30 AM

We all know Bill isn’t the only perjurer in the Clinton family. This is just another small step in the effort to make sure there isn’t another PRESIDENT in the Clinton family. Flip the little guys, to get evidence on the big guys; and up the ladder they’ll go. In the end, it WILL make a difference, Hillary.

Kenz on June 19, 2013 at 11:36 AM

What difference, at this point in time, does it make? /Killery ’16

trs on June 19, 2013 at 10:43 AM
Scooter Libby could not be reached for comment.

RoadRunner on June 19, 2013 at 10:50 AM
And neither could Vince Foster.

davidk on June 19, 2013 at 11:21 AM

Nor could Chris Stevens.

Steve Z on June 19, 2013 at 11:36 AM

Obama in Berlin .. a repeat performance from 5 years ago
except 196,000 of the 200,000 there 5 years ago stay home

J_Crater on June 19, 2013 at 11:30 AM

Including Angela Merkel. She’s too busy bailing out the Greeks and Spaniards to be worried about an American socialist.

Steve Z on June 19, 2013 at 11:39 AM

Seriously, what difference does it make? Nobody in the Obama administration is ever held responsible for anything.

The Rogue Tomato on June 19, 2013 at 11:46 AM

The Rogue Tomato on June 19, 2013 at 11:46 AM

Nobody anywhere in the government is held accountable. You can’t fire them and we keep electing the only ones we can do anything about.

Cindy Munford on June 19, 2013 at 11:49 AM

War is peace.
Ignorance is strength.
Lying is transparency.

I believe we are due for another chocolate ration increase soon.

jukin3 on June 19, 2013 at 11:30 AM

What…no Soma?

workingclass artist on June 19, 2013 at 12:05 PM

Employees of the State Dept committing perjury, no way, just ask Treacher.

RickB on June 19, 2013 at 12:08 PM

Nobody anywhere in the government is held accountable. You can’t fire them and we keep electing the only ones we can do anything about.

Cindy Munford on June 19, 2013 at 11:49 AM

Yeah.

The Apparatchik are expert at manipulating the Bureaucracy and in the media the LIV never ever connect anything to Il Duce…

workingclass artist on June 19, 2013 at 12:09 PM

The State Dept. is used to lying to foreign Nations, donchyaknow?

ajacksonian on June 19, 2013 at 12:13 PM

So long as we are sending subpoenas over to DS at State, could we ask for a few questions regarding the time agent Mike MaGuinn ran down blogger Jim Treacher, as he crossed M Street in the District?

MTF on June 19, 2013 at 12:14 PM

Nobody anywhere in the government is held accountable. You can’t fire them and we keep electing the only ones we can do anything about.

Cindy Munford on June 19, 2013 at 11:49 AM

Not THIS government, anyway. Lots of people in republican administrations have been held accountable for wrongdoing, and sometimes for doing nothing more than voicing an unpopular opinion.

People in the Obama administration can lie, cheat, steal, murder, and nobody does anything but maybe speculate about it.

The Rogue Tomato on June 19, 2013 at 12:20 PM

The odd part of this alleged perjury is that it seems rather superfluous to the case to begin with.

People who lie, it doesn’t matter how relevant or irrelevant the lie is, that is how they live their life.

The are used to being vague and deceitful, it never enters their mind that it doesn’t matter if they told the truth, they are not programmed that way.

right2bright on June 19, 2013 at 12:29 PM

The lying sack quotient in this administration is alarmingly high.

Mason on June 19, 2013 at 12:41 PM

sigh

Someone NEEDS to go to JAIL Ben.

neyney on June 19, 2013 at 12:44 PM

Two top officials at the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service (DS) — the federal law enforcement agency that protects American diplomats and investigates allegations of criminal misconduct by State Department employees — gave sworn testimony earlier this year that appears to be evasive at best, and untrue at worst, according to evidence obtained by Fox News.

Oh, well, that means this “evidence” doesn’t count. Move along folks.

Dr. ZhivBlago on June 19, 2013 at 12:56 PM

The odd part of this alleged perjury is that it seems rather superfluous to the case to begin with. The issue with DS agent Richard Higbie was that he was demoted (or at least that State attempted to demote him) after refusing to accept overseas assignments at the investigative agency. Higbie claims that the demotion was a retaliation for his refusal, which was necessitated by his daughter’s serious illness; State disputes that, saying the personnel actions followed proper State procedure.

And yet Jen Psaki is covering for the two, claiming that their responses were taken out of context.

I’m so freaking sick and tired of this shite. Admit it, fire ‘em and move on. Why the protracted obfuscation?

Hill60 on June 19, 2013 at 1:27 PM

If none of these guys get nailed for perjury, then no citizen who ever appears before Congress and lies his ass off should ever be charged either.

Iblis on June 19, 2013 at 1:33 PM

It may end up being germane enough to put Bultrowicz and Mahaffey in legal jeopardy, but that seems a stretch. For perjury to stick, it has to be a material falsehood that impacts the present case, not just an oversight or a fib on an unrelated point — and on top of that, the prosecution would have to prove intent. Given the disparate contexts between the two cases, that will be a tougher sell than usual for any perjury charge.

If the question was relevant enough to ask in a deposition, then it seems likely a false answer is relevant enough to be treated as perjury.

If the question was asked to establish a pattern of behavior with whistleblowers, and the two witnesses lied under oath to obscure their pattern of behavior, then how can the answer be treated as irrelevant?

I’d be surprised if these two can get away without perjury charges.

There Goes the Neighborhood on June 19, 2013 at 5:02 PM

I, um .. er, …:

“I think a lot of the problem he had today was the late afternoon sun in Berlin ruined his use of the teleprompter and so his usual dramatic windup was ruined,” Matthews said immediately after the speech. “I think he was really struggling with the text there.”

http://www.nationalreview.com/351447/matthews-berlin-sun-ruined-obamas-speech-andrew-johnson

davidk on June 19, 2013 at 11:19 AM

Lost it in the sun?

There Goes the Neighborhood on June 19, 2013 at 5:08 PM

In diplomatic terms, one would say it is a matter of necessitative creative deflective construct of language to prevent one’s being put into an untenable negative position vis-a-vis governance.

coldwarrior on June 19, 2013 at 10:50 AM

Mr. Magnan of the Corps Diplomatique Terrestrienne would approve.

AesopFan on June 19, 2013 at 7:18 PM

The phrase “none that come to mind right now” was an evasion and he should have been challenged at the time to make a categorical answer.

If truly this person has a memory problem, they should be allowed to consult with their offices and then return with the categorical answer a few days later.

What is the point of paying all these lawyer types if they do not know how to question people to get to the truth (or a provable lie).

virgo on June 20, 2013 at 1:24 AM