culprit question

State Dept. unable to identify person who carved swastika into elevator last year

Nearly a year after the incident, an official investigation has turned up empty, spokesperson Ned Price said

MANUEL BALCE CENETA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

State Department spokesman Ned Price speaks during a news conference at the State Department, March 10, 2022, in Washington, D.C.

Nearly a year after a swastika was carved into an elevator at the State Department’s headquarters, no one has yet been identified as the culprit, department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters on Tuesday.

“The investigation is not over in the sense that if we learn information that is germane to, again, the identity of the individual or individuals behind this, of course, we will take appropriate action,” Price said. The incident “has been investigated thoroughly by our Bureau of Diplomatic Security,” but in the 10 months since it happened, no one has been disciplined or found responsible. 

The swastika was discovered in July 2021 in an elevator near the office of the special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism, days before the Biden administration announced its appointment of Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt to serve as special envoy. 

After it was discovered, Secretary of State Tony Blinken called the etching “abhorrent,” and said, “we must be relentless in standing up and rejecting [antisemitism].”

The State Department’s Foggy Bottom headquarters is a “large building,” Price said, “with many people coming through this building. Some people are employees, some are guests.” The department’s focus, he added, is “on trying to determine if we can identify the perpetrator of this.” 

The investigation also centered on “​​steps we can take to see to it that any such incidents would either be deterred” or, if another incident did happen, that “we would be able to identify the individual or individuals responsible,” said Price.