US Embassy Baghdad Employees Killed by IED

MNF Baghdad reported that three people were killed and two were wounded May 25, when an improvised explosive device detonated during a visit of construction sites near Fallujah. The IED struck a vehicle traveling as part of a convoy that included Coalition Forces and U.S. Government civilians and contractors. The two wounded personnel were medically evacuated to a hospital for treatment.

A statement from Ambassador Hill dated May 26 says in part: “It is with deepest regret that we announce the tragic loss on May 25, 2009 of our Embassy Baghdad colleague Terrence Barnich, who was an employee of the U.S. Department of State. Mr. Barnich was the Deputy Director of the Iraq Transition Assistance Office (ITAO). Another employee from the Department of Defense detailed to the Embassy staff also died and will be identified pending notification of next of kin. They were killed when their car drove over an Improvised Explosive Device. They were returning from an inspection of a waste water treatment plant under construction in Fallujah, the largest and most complex U.S. government-funded project in Anbar Province. A Department of Defense military employee was also killed in the explosion.”

DOD has now identified one of the two unnamed casualties as Navy sailor, Cmdr. Duane G. Wolfe, 54, of Port Hueneme, California.He died May 25 from injuries suffered as a result of an improvised explosive device attack on his convoy southeast of Fallujah. Wolfe was assigned to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Gulf Region Division in Iraq.

Updated 5/29/09: On May 28, DOD announced the death of Department of the Army civilian employee Maged M. Hussein, 43, of Cairo, Egypt. He died May 25 in Al Taqaddum, Iraq, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his convoy vehicle in Fallujah, Iraq. He was employed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, Jacksonville, Florida.

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Richard Holbrooke with POTUS

What did you say?

Source: White House/Flickr

Above is an official White House photo taken by Pete Souza. It shows President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, right, and Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke, in the Oval Office during a briefing prior to meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai on May 6, 2009.

Update (revised post): A blog friend cautions against reading too much into this picture. Without knowing what happened there, we can assume too much and read more tea leaves into this scene than necessary, including Hillary’s absence. It is also true that this is only one instant, a moment in time when the three were caught together in Pete Souza’s viewfinder. I did look back at the SoS appointment that day. That morning, she had bilateral meetings with Hamid Karzai then Pakistan’s Asif Ali Zardari. Afterwards she led the US-Afghanistan-Pakistan Trilateral Consultations II, in the Benjamin Franklin Room.

The larger photo is better, see it here.

Quickie: Top 100 Government Contractors

from Washington Technology

The Washington Technology report say that with a new administration, a stimulus package with billions of dollars of new spending and shifting government priorities, the current environment offers no shortage of challenges to fuel changes by the top companies in the market. It notes that several of the top companies also share a growing interest in cybersecurity and health IT, both of which are important priorities for the Obama administration. It probably needs no pointing out but I’ll do so anyway — all top 5 companies in this ranking are in the defense industry.

Click here for coverage of the Top 100.

Click here for Completes List

Top 5 (by Rank)
1) Lockheed Martin ($14,983,515,367)
2) Boeing ($10,838,231,984)
3) Northrup Grumman ($9,947,316,207)
4) General Dynamics ($6,066,178,545)
5) Raytheon ($5,942,575,316)

State Dept Nominations: End of May Round-Up

On May 22, The Cable reported that Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) has put a hold on the Senate vote for Jeffrey Feltman to become assistant secretary of State for near eastern affairs. “Levin’s office told The Cable that he had asked for a few more days to seek clarification on some matters before the Senate takes up the nomination.”

The Senate has now adjourned for the long Memorial Day week and won’t return until 12 p.m. on Monday, June 1, 2009. The House stand adjourned until 2 p.m. on Tuesday, June 2, 2009. So nothing is going to happen, at least this week, to the Feltman, Koh and Burk nominations.

Here is the final round up of State Department nomination for the month of May:

Pending for full Senate vote as of May 22, 2009:

* 139 Susan Flood Burk, of Virginia, a Career Member of the Senior Executive Service, to be Special Representative of the President, with the rank of Ambassador.

* 140 Harold Hongju Koh, of Connecticut, to be Legal Adviser of the Department of State, vice John B. Bellinger III, resigned.*

* 161 Jeffrey D. Feltman, of Ohio, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Near Eastern Affairs), vice C. David Welch, resigned.

Pending in the Committee on Foreign Relations (SFRC) as of May 22, 2009:

The following civilian nominations were submitted by the President to the Senate for confirmation during the current congress and are currently undergoing committee consideration. The nominations are listed in reverse chronological order based on the referral date.

May 21, 09 PN493 Department of State
Nancy J. Powell, of Iowa, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign
Service, Class of Career Minister, to be Director General of the
Foreign Service.

May 19, 09 PN485 Department of State
Philip L. Verveer, of the District of Columbia, for the rank of
Ambassador during his tenure of service as Deputy Assistant Secretary
of State for International Communications and Information Policy in
the Bureau of Economic, Energy, and Business Affairs and U. S.
Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy.

May 14, 09 PN427 Department of State
Capricia Penavic Marshall, of the District of Columbia, to be Chief of
Protocol, and to have the rank of Ambassador during her tenure of

May 06, 09 PN403 Department of State
Ellen O. Tauscher, of California, to be Under Secretary of State for
Arms Control and International Security.

May 06, 09 PN402 Department of State
Andrew J. Shapiro, of New York, to be an Assistant Secretary of State
(Political-Military Affairs).

May 06, 09 PN401 Department of State
Eric P. Schwartz, of New York, to be an Assistant Secretary of State
(Population, Refugees, and Migration).

Apr 29, 09 PN384 Department of State
Eric P. Goosby, of California, to be Ambassador at Large and
Coordinator of United States Government Activities to Combat HIV/AIDS

Apr 27, 09 PN373 Department of State
Kurt M. Campbell, of the District of Columbia, to be an Assistant
Secretary of State (East Asian and Pacific Affairs).

Apr 20, 09 PN316 Department of State
Bonnie D. Jenkins, of New York, for the rank of Ambassador during her
tenure of service as Coordinator for Threat Reduction Programs.