The former State Department investigator who accused colleagues of using drugs, soliciting prostitutes and engaging in sex acts with minors now claims she is the victim of an "intimidation" campaign to keep her quiet.
Aurelia Fedenisn, a former State Department inspector general investigator, last week brought attention to alleged misconduct by U.S. officials around the world. Now her attorney, Cary Schulman, is claiming that she has become a target.
"They had law enforcement officers camp out in front of her house, harass her children and attempt to incriminate herself," Schulman told The Cable.
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Fedenisn life changed dramatically last Monday after she handed over documents and statements to CBS News alleging that senior State Department officials "influenced, manipulated, or simply called off" several investigations into misconduct. The suppression of investigations was noted in an early draft of an Inspector General report, but softened in the final version.
Erich Hart, general counsel to the Inspector General, did not reply to a request for comment. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said last week that "we hold all employees to the highest standards. We take allegations of misconduct seriously and we investigate thoroughly." She also announced that the department would request additional review by outside law enforcement officers on OIG inspection processes.
After the CBS News made inquiries to the State Department about the charges, Schulman says investigators from the State Department's Inspector General promptly arrived at Fedenisn's door. "They talked to both kids and never identified themselves," he said. "First the older brother and then younger daughter, a minor, asking for their mom's place of work and cell phone number ... They camped out for four to five hours."
Schulman says the purpose of the visit was to get Fedenisn to sign a document admitting that she stole State Department materials, such as the memos leaked to CBS. Schulman says it was crucial that she didn't sign the document because her separation agreement with the State Department includes a provision allowing disclosures of misconduct. Furthermore, none of the materials were classified.
"Why not simply mail it, courier it, send it Federal Express or deliver it by any other normal means by which one delivers a demand letter? Why send two federal law enforcement agents?" Schulman asked, suggesting the tactics were intrusive and meant to intimidate.
The attorney also revealed that officials with the Inspector General's Office told him they would be holding a "no kidding get together with the DOJ." Schulman says the officials were implying they would push for criminal proceedings if his client didn't cooperate.
Well known D.C. attorney Kel McClanahan, who has represented several agency whistleblowers, agreed it seems there is some intimidation going on.
"This type of intimidation technique is all too common when an agency wants something from you that it is not entirely confident it can get without your cooperation, and more often than not people who don't know any better fall for it," he added
Read The Cable's full report here.