James Hogan: Missing Now for 31 Days

US Vice Consul James Hogan was reported missing by his wife on September 25 in Curacao, the Netherlands Antilles. Today marks a month since he went missing. There seems to be no new developments on the search conducted by local authorities in the islands. I unearthed the video below from YouTube (sorry, no translation available) and another one here, both talking about the search and the police’s effort in soliciting the public’s assistance in their search. It includes snippets of James Hogan on video.

Digger of Life After Jerusalem pointed out recently that James Hogan just made the promotion from FS-04 to FS-03. The promotion list was dated October 9.

An AP report dated Oct 12, 2009 cited James Hogan’s brother, Paul saying that the family would not comment out of concern for the privacy of the diplomat’s wife and his five children.

On October 18, FS blogger, Globetrotter came back from a three-week TDY in Curacao. He understandably does not have a lot to say except that “It has been an interesting experience, but a difficult one under the circumstances. I’m glad for the opportunity to serve and help out at a trying time.”

This is such a gut-wrenching occasion, I can’t even begin to imagine what this must be like to the family and the small community at the US Consulate General in Curacao. What makes me feel really bad is how his disappearance seems to have fallen off the face of the earth just like that … no more news coverage updating us on the search …

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Officially In: Philip S. Goldberg to INR

This is the official photo of Ambassador Phili...Image via Wikipedia

On October 23 President Obama announced his intent to nominate Philip S. Goldberg to be Assistant Secretary at the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR). The WH released the following official bio:

Philip S. Goldberg, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, is the United States Coordinator for Implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolutions on North Korea. Mr. Goldberg has served as Ambassador to Bolivia; Chief of Mission in Kosovo and Charge d’affaires and Deputy Chief of Mission in Chile. He is currently coordinating implementation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1874, an assignment he will continue pending confirmation by the Senate when a successor will be designated.

His earlier assignments include: acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs; Executive Assistant and Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of State; Bosnia Desk Officer and member of US delegation at Dayton Peace Negotiations; Political-Economic Officer in South Africa, and Consular and Political officer in Colombia.

Mr. Goldberg is a graduate of Boston University.

* * *

If his name sounds familiar, that’s because he was in the news a lot last year. President George W. Bush nominated Philip S. Goldberg as Ambassador to Bolivia and his nomination was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on August 3, 2006. On September 10, 2008, the Bolivian Government expelled Ambassador Goldberg, after declaring him Persona Non Grata.

As an aside — there is a long list of alphabet soup at the State Department. But the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) is one of the dozen or so offices that reports directly to the Secretary. According to the Historian’s Office, An Act of Congress (P.L. 99-93) of Aug 16, 1985, authorized the appointment of an Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research. Prior to this date, the Secretary of State designated all Directors of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. Since Aug 1986, all incumbents have served as Assistant Secretaries of State and been commissioned by the President.

If confirmed Ambassador Goldberg would succeed, Randall M. Fort who was appointed A/S of the INR Bureau from 2006-2009. Previous appointees to this position are listed here.

Related Item:
President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts, 10/23/09

Officially In: Betty E. King to US Mission Geneva

U.S. Mission to the United Nations in GenevaImage by US Mission Geneva via Flickr

On October 22 President Obama announced his intent to nominate Betty E. King to be Representative of the United States to the Office of the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva, with the rank of Ambassador. The WH released the following official bio below:

Betty E. King served as the United States Representative to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W Bush. In that capacity, Ms. King worked on human rights, children, development, aging and population issues. She was the principal U.S. negotiator on the Millennium Development Goals.

Ms. King has an extensive background in philanthropy, having served as the Vice President of the Annie E. Casey Foundation in Baltimore, Maryland, the Senior Advisor to the CEO of the California Endowment in Los Angeles, CA and an advisor to the Atlantic Philanthropies in New York. She was the Deputy Commissioner of Mental Health in the District of Columbia, the Executive Director of the Southwest Society on Aging, the Director of the Arkansas Department on Aging and an Assistant Professor at the University of Arkansas. She currently serves on the boards of Refugees International, the United Nations Association of the United States, Phoenix House, and on the Advisory Board of the Annenberg School of Public Diplomacy.

Ms. King earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Windsor, Ontario, Canada, a Masters degree at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and was a National Humanities Fellow at Harvard University.

Related Item:

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts 10/22/09

Quickie: On State/USAID – There Will Be No Merger

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Spencer Ackerman did a lengthy post last week on the Department’s QDDR process (see State Dept Project Signals Foreign Policy Shift | Washington Independent | October 22). The piece also delineates the composition of the five Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review working groups with senior officials from across both State and USAID.

Kurt Campbell, the assistant secretary of State for East Asia, and Karen Turner, director of USAID’s office of development partners, head the group responsible for “Building a Global Architecture of Cooperation.”

Maria Otero, the undersecretary of state for democracy and global affairs, and Gloria Steele, USAID’s global-health chief, work on whole-of-government solutions.

Johnnie Carson, State’s top African-affairs official, and George Laudato, USAID’s Mideast chief, handle “Investing in the Building Blocks of Stronger Societies.”

Conflict prevention and response is under Eric Schwartz, State’s assistant secretary for population, migration and refugees; Susan Reichle, USAID’s senior democracy and humanitarian assistance official.

Ruth Whiteside of State’s Foreign Service Institute and Jean Marie Smith, Jack Lew’s special assistant, are in charge of “Building Operational and Resource Platforms for Success.”

The piece includes something that would help our USAID folks let out a sigh of relief. It said that “only one policy option has been ruled out: dissolving USAID and moving development work to the State Department.” Anne-Marie Slaughter, the director of policy planning is quoted as saying, “There will be no merger. Secretary Clinton has made clear she wants a strong AID, a well-resourced AID, [and] wants diplomacy and development well-integrated.”

There she said “no” to the “M” word. Read the whole thing here.

Rodearmel v. Clinton: Linguistics PhDs Wade In

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Seven professors of linguistics have filed an Amici Curiae in support of the U.S. Government’s motion to dismiss FSO David Rodearmel’s complaint.

The new filing provides a quick summary of the case:

The Ineligibility Clause—also known as the Emoluments Clause—prohibits the appointment of Senators or Representatives to “any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been encreased during [the time for which they were elected.]” Plaintiff seeks a declaration that this provision renders Hillary Clinton ineligible to serve as Secretary of State because Cabinet secretaries (along with other federal employees) received cost-of-living increases in their salaries during Ms. Clinton’s most recent Senate term. The increases in the Secretary of State’s salary were wiped out by statute before Ms. Clinton’s appointment, so that the Secretary’s salary was returned to what it had been when Sen. Clinton’s term began. But the plaintiff insists that Ms. Clinton nevertheless remained disqualified from being Secretary of State and that her appointment to that position violated the Constitution. The plaintiff contends that the reduction in the Secretary’s salary is constitutionally irrelevant because it does not change the “historical fact” that the previous increases had occurred.

The brief filed says that “t
he plaintiff’s interpretation represents only one of several possible readings. The clause can also be reasonably read in a way that permits a Senator or Representative’s eligibility for appointment to be restored by reducing the salary of the position in question to what it was when the Senator or Representative’s term began.”

It also says: “The ambiguity in the Ineligibility Clause relates to the phrase shall have been encreased. Plaintiff’s argument assumes that a position’s salary has been increased during a Senator or Representative’s term if at any point in that term the salary went up, even if it later went back down by the same amount. This interpretation corresponds to what linguists would refer to as an EXPERIENTIAL reading. But the language can also be understood to have a RESULTATIVE reading. On the latter interpretation, the salary can be said to “have been increased” only if it went up and stayed up through the time of the appointment. This reading of have been encreased is comparable to the interpretation of I have caught a cold as meaning that the speaker had gotten sick and was still sick.”

The friend of the court filing based its argument on two things —

A. The phrase shall have been encreased during such time can be interpreted “resultatively”i.e., as meaning that the state of increase continued in existence through the time of Sec. Clinton’s appointment.

“The phrase shall have been encreased is in what is conventionally called the FUTURE PERFECT TENSE. This is a compound tense, which means that it has two components: FUTURE and PERFECT.”

B. Encreased can also be understood as an adjective, and under such a reading it can be interpreted resultatively.

“As we have noted, increased can be interpreted as an adjective as well as a verb. Under such an interpretation, it is subject to much the same ambiguity as the verbal interpretation. An adjectival reading is therefore consistent with the conclusion that Secretary Clinton’s appointment was valid.”

The brief provides examples using texts from Rodearmel’s filing, Judicial Watch’s website, even from James Madison’s notes of the debates at the Constitutional Convention. It also carries the following appendices:

  • Appendix A: The English Resultative Perfect and its Relationship to the Experiential Perfect and the Simple Past Tense
  • Appendix B: Examples of the resultative perfect
  • Appendix C: Examples of adjectival use (may be ambiguous between adjectival use and use as resultative perfect)

Now Judicial Watch has a “Plaintiff’s Opposition/Response to Linguists’ Amicus Curiae – September 8, 2009″ posted online but it is a dead link right now. It would be interesting to see how many linguists of its own it can come up with to counter these linguists’ argument.

And here I thought this would be settled by President’s Day. Perhaps we should not be surprise if this court case would run on until 2012?

Related Item:
Rodearmel v. Clinton: Linguists Amici Curiae | PDF

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Rodearmel v. Clinton, et al: DOJ Files Motion to Dismiss
Dragging Foggy Bottom to Court

Idle Curiosity, Once More – Bow!

My U.S. Passport will let me conquer the world?Image by quinn.anya via Flickr

Sixth Guilty Plea in Illegal Access of US Passport Files

Last Friday DOJ said that a former State Department employee was sentenced to 12 months of probation for illegally accessing more than 75 confidential passport application files, Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division announced. William A. Celey, 28, of Washington, was also ordered to perform 50 hours of community service by U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson in the District of Columbia. On July 10, 2009, Celey pleaded guilty to a one-count criminal information charging him with unauthorized computer access.

In pleading guilty, Celey admitted that between June 22, 2004, and July 15, 2004, he logged onto the PIERS database and viewed the passport applications of more than 75 celebrities and their families, actors, models, musicians, athletes, record producers, family members, a politician and other individuals identified in the press. Celey admitted that he had no official government reason to access and view these passport applications, but that his sole purpose in accessing and viewing these passport applications was idle curiosity.

Celey is the sixth current or former State Department employee to plead guilty in the passport snooping investigation.

On Sept. 22, 2008, Lawrence C. Yontz, a former Foreign Service Officer and intelligence analyst, pleaded guilty to unlawfully accessing nearly 200 confidential passport files. Yontz was sentenced on Dec. 19, 2008, to 12 months of probation and ordered to perform 50 hours of community service.

On Jan. 14, 2009, Dwayne F. Cross, a former administrative assistant and contract specialist, pleaded guilty to unlawfully accessing more than 150 confidential passport files. On March 23, 2009, Cross was sentenced to 12 months of probation and ordered to perform 100 hours of community service.

On Jan. 27, 2009, Gerald R. Lueders, a former Foreign Service Officer, watch officer and recruitment coordinator, pleaded guilty to unlawfully accessing more than 50 confidential passport files. Lueders was sentenced on July 8, 2009, to 12 months of probation and ordered to pay a $5,000 fine.

On Aug. 17, 2009, Kevin M. Young, a contact representative, pleaded guilty to unlawfully accessing more than 125 confidential passport files. Young is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 9, 2009.

On Aug. 26, 2009, Karak Busch, a former citizens services specialist, pleaded guilty to unlawfully accessing more than 65 confidential passport files. Busch is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 15, 2009.

Mr. Celey is not the first one to admit to the snooping out of “idle curiosity.” Read the whole thing here.

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