The Cable

Cameras Catch Mystery Break-In at Whistleblower's Law Firm

The offices of a Dallas law firm representing a high-profile State Department whistleblower were broken into last weekend. Burglars stole three computers and broke into the firm's file cabinets. But silver bars, video equipment and other valuables were left untouched, according to local Fox affiliate KDFW, which aired security camera footage of the suspected burglars entering and leaving the offices around the time of the incident.

The firm Schulman & Mathias represents Aurelia Fedenisn, a former investigator at the State Department's Office of the Inspector General. In recent weeks, she raised a slew of explosive allegations against the department and its contractors ranging from illicit drug use, soliciting sexual favors from minors and prostitutes and sexual harassment.

"It's a crazy, strange and suspicious situation," attorney Cary Schulman told The Cable. "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." 

According to the KDFW report, the firm was the only suite burglarized in the high-rise office building and an unlocked office adjacent was left untouched.

The State Department, which has repeatedly disputed Fedenisn's allegations, denied any involvement in the incident. "Any allegation that the Department of State authorized someone to break into Mr. Schulman's law firm is false and baseless," spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

After assessing the surveillance footage, Schulman said he believed the motivations were likely political, but did not suspect department involvement. "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."

Fedenisn's case, in particular, has gained attention not just because of the substance of the allegations, but for her insistence that internal investigations into misconduct were "influenced, manipulated or simply called off" by senior State Department officials. The suppression of investigations was noted in an early draft of an Inspector General report she gave to CBS News, but softened in the final version.

Last month, her lawyers told The Cable that the department tried to intimidate her into silence. "They had law enforcement officers camp out in front of her house, harass her children and attempt to incriminate herself," claimed Schulman.

Schulman said the purpose of the visit was to get Fedenisn to sign documents admitting that she stole State Department documents -- a charge Fedenisn denies.

Schulman & Mathias represent a range of clients on matters from fraud to wrongful death to bad faith insurance practices to medical malpractice. Any number of those cases could've exposed the firm to such a break in, but Schulman said he was skeptical. "I'm involved in other cases locally, but those cases are rather stale."

The Cable

See If You Can Follow America's Schizophrenic Positions on Mohamed Morsy

After a 10-month stint in power, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy was ousted in a dramatic military coup on Wednesday. For the United States, Morsy and his ruling Muslim Brotherhood party represented a challenge diplomatically: Yes, he was democratically elected, a process the U.S. supports, but he also embraced increasingly authoritarian policies that put him at odds with Egypy's liberal opposition. As such, the reel of official U.S. statements about Morsi varied greatly over the last several months from him being "a far cry from an autocrat" to someone the U.S. wouldn't consider an "ally." Here are some highs and lows:

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on June 24, 2012: "We look forward to working together with President-elect Morsi and the government he forms, on the basis of mutual respect, to advance the many shared interests between Egypt and the United States."

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on July 15, 2013. "Egyptians are in the midst of complex negotiations about the transition, from the composition of your Parliament to the writing of a new constitution to the powers of the president," Clinton said. "I have come to Cairo to reaffirm the strong support of the United States for the Egyptian people and for your democratic transition."

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on July 31, 2012: "I was convinced that Morsy is his own man, and he is the president of all of the Egyptian people and that he is truly committed to implementing democratic reforms here in Egypt."

President Obama on Sept. 13, 2012. "You know, I don't think that we would consider them an ally but we don't consider them an enemy."

Clinton on November 22, 2012. "I want to thank President Morsi for his personal leadership to de-escalate the situation in Gaza and end the violence."

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland on Nov. 28, 2012: "President Morsi entered into discussions with the judiciary, with other stakeholders in Egypt. That's a far cry from an autocrat just saying, ‘My way or the highway.'"

Carney on January 15, 2013. "President Morsi should make clear that he respects people of all faiths, and that this type of [anti-semitic] rhetoric is not acceptable or productive in a democratic Egypt."

U.S. ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson on May 22, 2013: "It shouldn't surprise us that the Muslim Brotherhood did well here given its grassroots structure and extremely pious population, as is the case with other countries in the region."

State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell on July 1: "He's the democratically elected leader of Egypt ... We urge all parties to ensure that the democratic process and the building of Egypt's democratic institutions can continue."

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki on July 3. "It's important for President Morsy to listen to the Egyptian people and take steps to engage with all sides," Psaki said, "Unfortunately ... He didn't do that in his speech last night."

Obama on July 3. "We are deeply concerned by the decision of the Egyptian Armed Forces to remove President Morsy and suspend the Egyptian constitution. I now call on the Egyptian military to move quickly and responsibly to return full authority back to a democratically elected civilian government as soon as possible through an inclusive and transparent process, and to avoid any arbitrary arrests of President Morsy and his supporters. Given today's developments, I have also directed the relevant departments and agencies to review the implications under U.S. law for our assistance to the Government of Egypt."

Alex Wong/Getty Images; Mark Wilson/Getty Images; Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images; Jim Watson /Getty Images