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State Department's Watergate? Office of high-profile whistleblower lawyer burglarized

Published time: July 08, 2013 18:50
US State Department, Washington, DC. (AFP Photo / Karen Bleier)

US State Department, Washington, DC. (AFP Photo / Karen Bleier)

The Dallas law office representing a State Department whistleblower was broken into and robbed during the first weekend of July. Three computers were stolen and the firm’s file cabinets had been searched, but valuables were left untouched.

“It’s a crazy, strange and suspicious situation,” attorney Cary Schulman of the Schulman & Mathias law office told Foreign Policy Magazine’s The Cable.

The burglars left behind silver bars, video equipment and other valuables, causing Schulman to believe that they were looking to find information on the case of former State Department inspector general investigator Aurelia Fedenisn, who leaked government documents last month. Fedenisn provided CBS News with documents that accuse the State Department of covering up criminal investigations involving its diplomats and employees, including offenses such as illicit drug use, sexual solicitation of minors and prostitutes, and sexual harassment.

The documents state that US Ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman “was suspected of patronizing prostitutes in a public park.”

Schulman believes that the perpetrators of the burglary may have been politically motivated supporters of the Obama administration, but the suspects have not yet been identified.

“It’s clear to me that it was somebody looking for information and not money. My most high-profile case right now is the Aurelia Fedenisn case, and I can’t think of any other case where someone would go to these great lengths to get our information,” Schulman told The Cable.

Last month, lawyers representing Fedenisn told The Cable that the State Department tried to silence her by threatening her and her family. Law enforcement officers allegedly camped in front of her house, harassed her children, and tried to make Fedenisn incriminate herself.

Schulman believes that officials are trying to force Fedenisn to sign papers admitting that she stole the documents – a crime that the former investigator denies.

The law office does not believe the State Department authorized a break-in, but suspects that supporters of the administration may be to blame.

"It wasn't professional enough," he said. "It is possible that an Obama or Hillary supporter feels that I am unfairly going after them. And the timing of this is right after several weeks of very public media attention so it seems to me most likely that the information sought is related to that case. I don't know for sure and I want the police to do their work."

Local Fox affiliate KDFW aired a surveillance video of the two suspected burglars, who can be seen walking out of the office carrying computers.

State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki claims the agency had no involvement in the break-in.

“Any allegation that the Department of State authorized someone to break into Mr. Schulman’s law firm is false and baseless,” she said.