A former top counterintelligence official has “described his consternation at the recklessness of State Department officials of both sexes during the Obama years who indulged in sexual favors from in-room masseurs during their stays at the Moscow Ritz,” according to a recent story by Politico.
The striking statement, made in the extensive article about young Russians who live and work in Washington, D.C., is not expanded upon. The former official is left unnamed. The anecdote was offered to explain that not every Russian attempt to sexually manipulate intelligence targets is directed toward Republicans.
The presidential suite of the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Moscow became infamous as the site of President Donald Trump’s alleged dalliances with Russian prostitutes, which featured as one of the most salacious elements of Christopher Steele’s dossier. Insisting that he is a “germaphobe,” the president has denied the dossier’s allegations that he paid prostitutes to urinate on a bed once used by President Obama.
If the official’s claims are true, it would not be the first instance of sexual impropriety on foreign soil by government employees during the Obama administration. Nearly two dozen Secret Service and military personnel were fired or otherwise punished for soliciting prostitutes during a presidential visit to Colombia in 2012.
The Washington Post later reported that despite denials, senior White House aides likely knew about the misconduct. According to evidence uncovered by David Nieland, the DHS investigator on the scandal, a White House volunteer was among those who had registered a prostitute to his room during the trip. Nieland claimed that the inspector general told him to “withhold and alter certain information in the report of investigation because it was potentially embarrassing to the administration.”