Top State Department Official Repeatedly Drank To Excess On The Job: Watchdog

Akbar Shahid Ahmed
·2-min read

A high-ranking State Department official who is close to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo drank alcohol excessively on “numerous” occasions while working, even raising a red flag among foreign counterparts, multiple State Department officials told the agency’s watchdog for an unpublished report obtained by HuffPost.

The department’s inspector general “believes that [Cam Henderson’s] conduct raises significant suitability concerns and given the visibility of her position, [the office] believes it is important to bring them to the attention of department leadership,” the report says. The investigation was concluded in May and submitted to Pompeo’s team, but it is not expected to be officially released. It largely addresses a period between the fall of 2017 and the summer of 2019, when Henderson served in a less senior role.

Last August, Henderson became the chief of protocol, an important post that oversees delicate diplomatic events and matters of rank. The revelation about her behavior and apparent impunity adds to the impression that the State Department has become less professional and more politicized under President Donald Trump and Pompeo.

The State Department inspector general said agency staff believed Henderson had missed an official event on Dec. 13, 2019, because of “overconsumption of alcohol at an official [Office of Protocol] event the night before.”

“Several of these employees told [the inspector general] that members of foreign delegations had made comments or raised concerns about Ms. Henderson’s alcohol intake,” the watchdog added.

Two department officials also described alcohol-related issues with Henderson to The Washington Post for an August story. They said Henderson encouraged her predecessor and previous boss, Sean Lawler, to drink in the office “to calm him down.” Lawler left the job in July 2019 after multiple complaints that he harassed and denigrated employees.

Pompeo tapped Henderson to succeed...

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