BuzzFeed News has learned that the U.S. Department of State is conducting an investigation after a swastika was found on Monday etched into a wooden panel on an elevator door inside the agency’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.
State Department spokesperson Jalina Porter told reporters earlier today that the swastika has already been removed, and the matter is being looked into. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is Jewish, sent an email to employees Tuesday condemning the hate symbol, and its painful reminder that anti-Semitic sentiment is far from over.
“As this painfully reminds us, anti-Semitism isn’t a relic of the past,” Blinken wrote. “It’s still a force in the world, including close to home. And it’s abhorrent. 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.”
A source told BuzzFeed News that State Department personnel have spoken with one another and expressed some concern about the possible existence of anti-Semitic beliefs among those who work for the department. While most of the workforce remained at home due to pandemic, lifted restrictions have allowed for more employees to return to the Harry S. Truman building.
Outside of State Department employees, outside contractors are allowed to travel through the building after being vetted by security officers.