U.S. Embassy to BelgiumU.S. ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman denied reports that he solicited “sexual favours from both prostitutes and minor children” — allegations that came from explosive documents obtained by both NBC and CBS News.
The magazine Foreign Policy identified Gutman and, along with other outlets, published a statement denying accusations of wrongdoing.
“I am angered and saddened by the baseless allegations that have appeared in the press and to watch the four years I have proudly served in Belgium smeared is devastating,” Gutman said, according to Foreign Policy. “At no point have I ever engaged in any improper activity.”
CBS obtained an internal State Department Inspector General’s memo which alleged the State Department may have covered up certain damning incidents. “Several recent investigations were influenced, manipulated, or simply called off” to protect careers and avoid scandal, the memo said.
The memo revealed eight specific incidents, including alleged sexual assaults and engagement with prostitutes by employees as low-ranked as security officers and as highly ranked as the U.S. ambassador.
The report also claims that members of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s security detail engaged with prostitutes on official foreign trips.
On Monday in the State Department’s daily press briefing, spokeswoman Jen Psaki called notions of any kind of cover-up “preposterous.”
“The notion that we would not pursue criminal misconduct in any case is preposterous,” Psaki said. “We’ve put individuals behind bars for criminal behaviour.”