A Confirmation Grilling – – But Was Not Hot

Spencer Ackerman of The Washington Independent live-blogged the confirmation hearing of Ambassador Hill today. See below for a quick read since it will probably take a day or so for the SFRC to post the opening statements online or check out the statements here (boy! I have not seen them post a testimony this fast!). I’m looking for the transcript but don’t know how soon that will be available.

I thought the hearing went quite well – Hill was upfront, candid and I think persuasive. All those media interviews, especially during the Six Party Talks must have been pretty good practice for the confirmation grilling. The senators asked some good questions and no one appeared to be scoring points for politics. Senator Lugar plus a couple others put in questions based on the issues brought up by Senator Brownback, and a couple newspaper items — all were answered and explained well, I thought.

Something I did not know – he has a son in Iraq; not in the Army but with DIA. He talked about looking into staffing, on whether the embassy is right-sized, and if we have the right footprint in the country.

On the PRTs in Iraq where we currently have 26, he said it will go down to 16, then to 10, then to 6. At some point after this, Senator Dodd gave a shout out to our civilian employees working in Iraq.

Senator Isakson asked how Hill sees his role in replacing Ambassador Crocker. Ambassador Hill gave the same answer from their private conversation, “I just don’t want to screw it up.”

Another senator – had a question about private contractors. In his response, Hill talked about DS and perimeter security. A follow-up question on whether this was Green Zone or embassy perimeter. This gave Hill a chance to talk about his experience as ambassador to Macedonia when protesters breached U.S. Embassy security in 1999 over NATO airstrikes in Yugoslavia, and they had no Marines. Here is a related account from that time in Macedonia that I have not read before: One Riot, One Ambassador.

Read the rest of it from Spencer Ackerman’s posts:


Chris Hill’s Iraq Showdown

By 3/25/09 9:06 AM

Chris Hill Confirmation Hearing: Highlights From Hill’s Opening Statement
3/25/09 10:15 AM

Chris Hill Confirmation Hearing: The Six-Party North Korea Talks And Iraq
3/25/09 10:16 AM

Chris Hill Confirmation Hearing: Hill Takes Up Brownback’s North Korea Criticism
3/25/09 10:27 AM

Chris Hill Confirmation Hearing: ‘I Just Don’t Want To Screw It Up’
3/25/09 10:55 AM

Chris Hill Confirmation Hearing: Wicker vs. Hill on North Korea
3/25/09 11:26 AM

Chris Hill Confirmation Hearing: Will the United States Get Out of Iraq Entirely by 2011?
3/25/09 11:33 AM

Chris Hill Confirmation Hearing: Hill Hearing Wraps Up
3/25/09 11:44 AM

Ambassador Hill said this once: “Your best diplomacy should start at home,” he said. “As a professional diplomat, if I can’t deal with that, then what am I doing talking to foreigners?”

I think he’s going to Baghdad, it’s a matter of when; let’s see what happens next week.

Update: 3/26
Spencer Ackerman: This Is the Hill Sam Brownback Wants to Die On

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A Confirmation Grilling – – But Was Not Hot

Spencer Ackerman of The Washington Independent live-blogged the confirmation hearing of Ambassador Hill today. See below for a quick read since it will probably take a day or so for the SFRC to post the opening statements online or check out the statements here (boy! I have not seen them post a testimony this fast!). I’m looking for the transcript but don’t know how soon that will be available.

I thought the hearing went quite well – Hill was upfront, candid and I think persuasive. All those media interviews, especially during the Six Party Talks must have been pretty good practice for the confirmation grilling. The senators asked some good questions and no one appeared to be scoring points for politics. Senator Lugar plus a couple others put in questions based on the issues brought up by Senator Brownback, and a couple newspaper items — all were answered and explained well, I thought.

Something I did not know – he has a son in Iraq; not in the Army but with DIA. He talked about looking into staffing, on whether the embassy is right-sized, and if we have the right footprint in the country.

On the PRTs in Iraq where we currently have 26, he said it will go down to 16, then to 10, then to 6. At some point after this, Senator Dodd gave a shout out to our civilian employees working in Iraq.

Senator Isakson asked how Hill sees his role in replacing Ambassador Crocker. Ambassador Hill gave the same answer from their private conversation, “I just don’t want to screw it up.”

Another senator – had a question about private contractors. In his response, Hill talked about DS and perimeter security. A follow-up question on whether this was Green Zone or embassy perimeter. This gave Hill a chance to talk about his experience as ambassador to Macedonia when protesters breached U.S. Embassy security in 1999 over NATO airstrikes in Yugoslavia, and they had no Marines. Here is a related account from that time in Macedonia that I have not read before: One Riot, One Ambassador.

Read the rest of it from Spencer Ackerman’s posts:


Chris Hill’s Iraq Showdown

By 3/25/09 9:06 AM

Chris Hill Confirmation Hearing: Highlights From Hill’s Opening Statement
3/25/09 10:15 AM

Chris Hill Confirmation Hearing: The Six-Party North Korea Talks And Iraq
3/25/09 10:16 AM

Chris Hill Confirmation Hearing: Hill Takes Up Brownback’s North Korea Criticism
3/25/09 10:27 AM

Chris Hill Confirmation Hearing: ‘I Just Don’t Want To Screw It Up’
3/25/09 10:55 AM

Chris Hill Confirmation Hearing: Wicker vs. Hill on North Korea
3/25/09 11:26 AM

Chris Hill Confirmation Hearing: Will the United States Get Out of Iraq Entirely by 2011?
3/25/09 11:33 AM

Chris Hill Confirmation Hearing: Hill Hearing Wraps Up
3/25/09 11:44 AM

Ambassador Hill said this once: “Your best diplomacy should start at home,” he said. “As a professional diplomat, if I can’t deal with that, then what am I doing talking to foreigners?”

I think he’s going to Baghdad, it’s a matter of when; let’s see what happens next week.

Update: 3/26
Spencer Ackerman: This Is the Hill Sam Brownback Wants to Die On

More State Department Nominations

Harold Hongju Koh, Nominee for Legal Adviser
Harold Hongju Koh, Dean and Gerard C. & Bernice Latrobe Smith Professor of International Law at Yale Law School, is one of the country’s leading experts on public and private international law, national security law, and human rights. Read more here.


Luis C. de Baca, Nominee for Trafficking in Persons

On March 24, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate Luis C. de Baca as Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons at the State Department. He is Counsel to the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary, on detail from the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. Read more:
President Obama Announces Another Key State Department Post, 3/24/09


Susan Burk, Nominee for Special Representative of the President

The President announced his intent to nominate Susan Burk, Special Representative of the President, with the rank of Ambassador, State Department. See her State Department biography here. Read more:
President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts, 3/18/09


Rose Gottemoeller, Nominee for VCI

The President announced his intent to nominate Rose Gottemoeller for Assistant Secretary of State for Verification and Compliance (VCI). See her Carnegie Endowment for International Peace biography here. Read more:
President Obama Announces Key State Department Appointment 3/17/09

More State Department Nominations

Harold Hongju Koh, Nominee for Legal Adviser
Harold Hongju Koh, Dean and Gerard C. & Bernice Latrobe Smith Professor of International Law at Yale Law School, is one of the country’s leading experts on public and private international law, national security law, and human rights. Read more here.


Luis C. de Baca, Nominee for Trafficking in Persons

On March 24, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate Luis C. de Baca as Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons at the State Department. He is Counsel to the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary, on detail from the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. Read more:
President Obama Announces Another Key State Department Post, 3/24/09


Susan Burk, Nominee for Special Representative of the President

The President announced his intent to nominate Susan Burk, Special Representative of the President, with the rank of Ambassador, State Department. See her State Department biography here. Read more:
President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts, 3/18/09


Rose Gottemoeller, Nominee for VCI

The President announced his intent to nominate Rose Gottemoeller for Assistant Secretary of State for Verification and Compliance (VCI). See her Carnegie Endowment for International Peace biography here. Read more:
President Obama Announces Key State Department Appointment 3/17/09

SFRC Hearings: Nomination – Hill

COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS
UNITED STATES SENATE
111th Congress
1st Session


March 25, 2009, Wednesday
Time
: 9:30 A.M.
Place: 419 Dirksen Senate Building
Presiding: Senator Kerry


Senator Kerry’s Opening Statement

Senator Lugar’s Opening Statement
(Note: this is the posted statement but this is not the one he delivered for Hill’s hearing; will post correct one when website corrects it)

Nominee:

The Honorable Christopher R. Hill
to be Ambassador to the Republic of Iraq

Career Member of the U.S. Foreign Service. Most recently Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs (EAP) and Head of the U.S. delegation to the Six-Party Talks on the North Korean nuclear issue.

Now on live stream from C-SPAN.org


Related Item:

Related Posts:

SFRC Hearings: Nomination – Hill

COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS
UNITED STATES SENATE
111th Congress
1st Session


March 25, 2009, Wednesday
Time
: 9:30 A.M.
Place: 419 Dirksen Senate Building
Presiding: Senator Kerry


Senator Kerry’s Opening Statement

Senator Lugar’s Opening Statement
(Note: this is the posted statement but this is not the one he delivered for Hill’s hearing; will post correct one when website corrects it)

Nominee:

The Honorable Christopher R. Hill
to be Ambassador to the Republic of Iraq

Career Member of the U.S. Foreign Service. Most recently Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs (EAP) and Head of the U.S. delegation to the Six-Party Talks on the North Korean nuclear issue.

Now on live stream from C-SPAN.org


Related Item:

Related Posts:

An Idiot’s Guide on How to Put Your Mistress on the National Security Payroll

Jeff Stein of CQ (Foggo Saga Doesn’t Reflect Well on Much of Anybody) with more revelations on the CIA’s ex-EXDIR Dusty:

“Of the many laughable elements to the Dusty Foggo story, I have three favorites.

  1. One is that from 1993 through 2005, Foggo “completed CIA ethics training eight times, and served two years as a Deputy Ethics official,” according to the prosecutors’ sentencing memo.
  2. Another is that, at the same time he was defrauding the government with millions of dollars worth of bogus contracts, Foggo received three employee performance awards.
  3. The third is that he passed a CIA polygraph exam, in which he was grilled about all sorts of questionable behavior in his personnel dossier, from unreported dalliances with female foreign nationals — including, allegedly, a woman involved with a Russian mole — to an assault, to putting an unqualified girlfriend on the agency payroll.”

And I just have three quick thoughts on this:

  • Like Showtime’s Dexter says when asked how he deals with all the gore, “I’m good at compartmentalization.” Which probably means — one needs to carved the inside of one’s head into tiny little boxes with different passwords and lock combinations; and make sure each compartment could not talk or pass gossip to each other? Because how else do you beat the poly?
  • The next time I get to brag about my dusty performance awards and somebody gives me the “so what? look” – I have Dusty to thank for it.
  • I’m doing my pre-order at amazon.com now. There will certainly be a slew of books on this from the jailhouse – the office: CIA edition, bodice rippers, thrillers, and perhaps even an action hero novel (Foggo’s lawyers attempted to “portray Foggo as a hero engaged in actions necessary to protect the public from terrorist acts.”).

    And ooooh, there may even be a few “how-to books” like – “How to Defraud the Government for Dummies,” “How to Put Your Mistress on the National Security Payroll,” “An Idiots Guide to Cloak and Dagger,” and “How to Use Graymail, Influence People, and Reduce Jail Time.”

He has exactly 37 months to work on his drafts.

An Idiot’s Guide on How to Put Your Mistress on the National Security Payroll

Jeff Stein of CQ (Foggo Saga Doesn’t Reflect Well on Much of Anybody) with more revelations on the CIA’s ex-EXDIR Dusty:

“Of the many laughable elements to the Dusty Foggo story, I have three favorites.

  1. One is that from 1993 through 2005, Foggo “completed CIA ethics training eight times, and served two years as a Deputy Ethics official,” according to the prosecutors’ sentencing memo.
  2. Another is that, at the same time he was defrauding the government with millions of dollars worth of bogus contracts, Foggo received three employee performance awards.
  3. The third is that he passed a CIA polygraph exam, in which he was grilled about all sorts of questionable behavior in his personnel dossier, from unreported dalliances with female foreign nationals — including, allegedly, a woman involved with a Russian mole — to an assault, to putting an unqualified girlfriend on the agency payroll.”

And I just have three quick thoughts on this:

  • Like Showtime’s Dexter says when asked how he deals with all the gore, “I’m good at compartmentalization.” Which probably means — one needs to carved the inside of one’s head into tiny little boxes with different passwords and lock combinations; and make sure each compartment could not talk or pass gossip to each other? Because how else do you beat the poly?
  • The next time I get to brag about my dusty performance awards and somebody gives me the “so what? look” – I have Dusty to thank for it.
  • I’m doing my pre-order at amazon.com now. There will certainly be a slew of books on this from the jailhouse – the office: CIA edition, bodice rippers, thrillers, and perhaps even an action hero novel (Foggo’s lawyers attempted to “portray Foggo as a hero engaged in actions necessary to protect the public from terrorist acts.”).

    And ooooh, there may even be a few “how-to books” like – “How to Defraud the Government for Dummies,” “How to Put Your Mistress on the National Security Payroll,” “An Idiots Guide to Cloak and Dagger,” and “How to Use Graymail, Influence People, and Reduce Jail Time.”

He has exactly 37 months to work on his drafts.

Quote: The Difficult Task of Fighting Terrorists

“Fighting an unconventional war against a terrorist enemy is a difficult task, and the sad truth is that it almost always results in some brutal and illegal acts. This is as true of our country as it is of Sri Lanka. The important thing is that the country’s leadership not condone these acts, and that an atmosphere is set from the top that they will not be accepted, and that those who commit them will be held to account.”


Letter to His Excellency Mahinda Rajapakse
President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
January 19, 2009

Signed by the following former US Ambassadors to Sri Lanka

Marion Creekmore, 1989-1992
Teresita Schaffer, 1992-1995
Peter Burleigh, 1995-1997
Shaun Donnelly, 1997-2000
Ashley Wills, 2000-2003
Jeffrey Lunstead, 2003-2006

Quote: The Difficult Task of Fighting Terrorists

“Fighting an unconventional war against a terrorist enemy is a difficult task, and the sad truth is that it almost always results in some brutal and illegal acts. This is as true of our country as it is of Sri Lanka. The important thing is that the country’s leadership not condone these acts, and that an atmosphere is set from the top that they will not be accepted, and that those who commit them will be held to account.”


Letter to His Excellency Mahinda Rajapakse
President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
January 19, 2009

Signed by the following former US Ambassadors to Sri Lanka

Marion Creekmore, 1989-1992
Teresita Schaffer, 1992-1995
Peter Burleigh, 1995-1997
Shaun Donnelly, 1997-2000
Ashley Wills, 2000-2003
Jeffrey Lunstead, 2003-2006