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US Embassy vandalized with swastika graffiti

Secretary Antony J. Blinken in a virtual U.S. Embassy London meet and greet on May 4, 2021. (State Department Photo by Ron Przysucha)
February 14, 2022

A U.S. Embassy was vandalized with swastika graffiti late last month, Axios first reported Sunday.

The swastika was reportedly drawn on a window shade in purple ink inside the U.S. embassy in Bulgaria. The embassy in Sofia, Bulgaria, recently sent a diplomatic cable to Washington describing the anti-Semitic graffiti.

According to Axios, the Nazi image was first seen on Jan. 28, one day after International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Sources close to the situation said the swastika was drawn in a secure area of the embassy, raising concerns that whoever drew the anti-Semitic image had access to the diplomatic outpost.

“The department takes this matter extremely seriously,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement. “We unequivocally condemn any instances of hate or bias in the workplace, which this appears to be.”

“This is a repugnant symbol that stands for everything we as a department are standing against,” he said. “We are committed to doing everything possible to ensure the State Department, including our posts overseas, remain a welcoming, inclusive and bias-free workplace.”

This isn’t the first time a swastika has been discovered in a State Department building. In July 2021, the Nazi symbol was found etched into the wall of an elevator near the State Department’s special envoy to monitor and combat anti-semitism, Axios reported.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in an email at the time that the entire department condemns the hateful vandalism.

“The hateful graffiti has been removed and this incident will be investigated,” Blinken said.

“​As this painfully reminds us, anti-semitism isn’t a relic of the past. It’s still a force in the world, including close to home. And it’s abhorrent,” he continud. “It has no place in the United States, at the State Department or anywhere else. And we must be relentless in standing up and rejecting it.”

“To our Jewish colleagues: please know how grateful we are for your service and how proud we are to be your colleagues,” Blinken added.

The U.S. State Department employs over 70,000 people around the world, with roughly 285 posts in capitals and major cities.

In January 2020, the Federal Bureau of Investigation warned a neo-Nazi group was trying to build an al-Qaida-style terror network.

The FBI said in court filings that members communicated through encrypted messaging systems and chat rooms. “In these communications, they have discussed, among other things, acts of violence against minorities (including African Americans and Jewish Americans), Base military training camps, and ways to make improvised explosive devices,” the filings said.