A 17-year veteran of the State Department is taking aim at agency leadership, past and present, including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, with a new website that alleges a culture of corruption at Foggy Bottom replete with misconduct and criminal cover-up.
Richard Higbie has been locked in various legal battles with the State Department since he joined the agency’s Diplomatic Security Service in 1998. In 2001, he filed a discrimination lawsuit claiming his bosses retaliated against him because of the ongoing medical treatment he had to provide his daughter, Logan, who was born with a rare genetic condition that causes seizures and tumors.
Through the course of his fight, Higbie, 42, has filed for whistle-blower protection. And by doing so he has attracted other whistle-blowers who have provided information on alleged misconduct at he highest levels of the State Department.
Higbie’s website, The Honor Fight, details his case as well as some of those allegations.
“Over the last two years, Higbie has repeatedly exposed allegations of abuse of power, criminal misconduct and cover-ups, all carried out by high-level State Department officials including Under Secretary for Management Patrick Kennedy, former Secretary Clinton’s Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills and former Acting Inspector General Harold Geisel,” the site reads.
Higbie, who first detailed his legal battle on The BlazeTV’s “For the Record” last year, settled his initial discrimination case with the State Department in 2005.
Currently the lead investigator in the Dallas field office of the Bureau of Diplomatic Service, Higbie thought he had moved on with his life and career after settling his case. But problems resurfaced in 2008 when Higbie says two of his supervisors began a harassment campaign against him.
Evidence of that was included in a 2009 email sent by one of his supervisors, Special Agent Jeff Thomas, stating that a man named Jorge would show up to Higbie’s Thanksgiving dinner and “will close the case no fraud…with a few Tech 9’s.”
Higbie agreed to undergo mediation in 2009 to settle his dispute with Thomas and another supervisor. But the process proved fruitless. Worse, Higbie claimed that his confidentiality was breached after two supervisors filed affidavits which included information that they should not have had since the mediation process was supposedly confidential.
That alleged breach led to a 2011 suit against Clinton, who was in charge of the agency at the time.
On his website, Higbie compares how his confidentiality was breached with Hillary Clinton’s statements about the value of privacy after it was revealed that she used a private email account as secretary of state.
“No one wants their personal emails made public, and I think most people understand that and respect privacy,” Clinton said during a March 10 press conference, Higbie notes on his site.
“So if Secretary Clinton can use an email server and email system for all of her government business…for her confidentiality, why is Higbie’s simple right to confidentiality in a mediation agreement not given the same deference?” Higbie’s site reads.
While gathering information for his own case, Higbie and his attorneys learned about other alleged misconduct within the agency.
They came in contact with Aurelia Fedenisn, a 26-year veteran with the State Department who worked senior inspector with the State Department’s Office of the Inspector General.
Higbie and his attorneys subpoenaed Fedenisn’s notes and records in 2013. Though she had retired from her position in December 2012, Fedenisn, like Higbie, filed for whistle-blower protection.
She claimed that several investigations into high-ranking diplomats were shut down by higher-ups in the agency.
The biggest alleged cover-up involved the case of Howard Gutman, then the U.S. ambassador to Belgium. In May 2011, the Bureau of Diplomatic Security was alerted by security staff at the U.S. embassy in Brussels that Gutman solicited an underage prostitute at a nearby park.
An internal investigation was opened, but a mere two days later senior State Department officials shut down the inquiry.
The case was marked a “management issue,” and Gutman was called to Washington, D.C. where he met with Under Secretary Patrick Kennedy and Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s chief of staff at the time.
Higbie: Kennedy Is The ‘Gatekeeper’ to Information On Clinton’s Private Email Account
Gutman denied the allegations during those meetings and was sent back to his post.
“We expect to see influence, but the degree to which that influence existed and how high up it went, was very disturbing,” Fedenisn told CBS News in June 2013.
At his website, Higbie cites Kennedy’s involvement in that case as of a rotten culture at the agency.
“The position taken in this case is characteristic of the ‘above the law mentality’ that serves as the example for Diplomatic Security personnel to believe is not only acceptable but lawful behavior,” Higbie’s site reads.
Kennedy’s involvement in that case is just the tip of the iceberg, says Higbie.
In an interview with The Daily Caller, Higbie called Kennedy — a career diplomat — “the gatekeeper” to any information about Clinton’s private email account and the private server she had set up in her Chappaqua, N.Y. residence.
Higbie asserts that Kennedy would have been keenly aware of the arrangement.
Kennedy is one of a handful of State Department officials subpoenaed by the House Select Committee investigating the Benghazi attack. Others who have been or will likely be subpoenaed include Clinton’s top former aides, Cheryl Mills, Jake Sullivan, Huma Abedin and Philippe Reines. Clinton herself plans to testify in front of the committee. Longtime Clinton crony Sidney Blumenthal has also been subpoenaed.
Asked why he set up the website, Higbie said it is his sworn duty to uphold the law.
“When I was hired as a federal law enforcement officer, I swore an oath to uphold the Constitution,” Higbie told The Daily Caller.
“That oath represents the values that Americans hold dear, my own integrity, honor, and honesty drive me to make certain that people are held accountable to the same values that every hard working American citizen has.”
He said that besides shedding light on his own case, he hopes the site will inform “the public of the wrongdoing within the State Department to ensure that justice is served and to ensure that no one is above the law at the Department of State, to include all high ranking political appointees.”