David Ensor to US Embassy Kabul?

Via Al Kamen: “Word at the State Department is that David Ensor, longtime national security correspondent for CNN and more recently executive vice president for communications at Mercuria Energy Group in London, is being talked about to run the public affairs office at the embassy in Kabul.” (links added)

Huh? What? Hmmnn. Why?

Just a couple quick thoughts –

First, I think US Embassy Kabul’s PAS office has done a marvelous job over there. The post that needs help is the other half of Af/Pak, and it’s not Afghanistan. Public diplomacy efforts have taken a beating in Pakistan, and hope and help is probably needed there more than anywhere else.

Second, when was the last time you’ve heard of a non-career appointee run a public affairs shop at the embassy level?

Hmmn, let me see – how about Dan Senor, remember him? Probably most noted as chief spokesperson for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq in the old days.

The CPA was not quite the embassy but close enough. The Bush II White House, after all called Senor “Advisor to the U.S. Presidential Envoy in Iraq” (that is, Presidential Envoy L. Paul Bremer III, Administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority).

I’ve watched Ensor on CNN; I remember him as telegenic; don’t know his politics. Before joining CNN, he served as ABC News’ diplomatic correspondent from 1995-1998.

Still — I hope no one is trying to replicate the CPA’s “Green Room” in Baghdad at the US Embassy in Kabul …

CRS Responds to ACLU on Morris Davis Firing

In response to a letter from the American Civil Liberties Union earlier this month, the Library of Congress stated on December 14 that it will not reinstate Col. Morris Davis to his job at the Congressional Research Service (CRS). Davis, the former chief prosecutor for the Guantánamo military commissions, was terminated from his job at CRS because of opinion pieces he wrote about the Guantánamo military commissions system that ran in the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post on November 11, 2009. The ACLU’s letter argued that CRS violated the First Amendment when it fired Davis for speaking as a private citizen about matters having nothing to do with his job there, and that CRS must reinstate Davis to his position in order to avoid litigation. The ACLU now plans to file a lawsuit on Col. Davis’s behalf.

The CRS in its response says, “We maintain that the removal of Mr. Davis is justified.” It enumerates the reason for Morris Davis’ firing:

The November 20,2009, notice of separation sets forth Daniel Mulhollan’s chief reason for the determination to separate Mr. Davis: “[he has] not adequately demonstrated the Senior Level Executive qualities and characteristics necessary to serve effectively as Assistant Director in the Foreign Affairs, Defense and Trade Division of the Congressional Research Service.” Furthermore, Mr. Mulhollan explains that Mr. Davis “failed to adhere to the CRS policy on Outside Speaking and Writing”, “impairing [his] ability to lead the analysts and managers in the Foreign Affairs, Defense and Trade Division] (and throughout the Service)”, and that he had been previously verbally counseled on his failure to adhere to another CRS policy on Report Authorship and inappropriate interaction with a CRS senior manager. Mr. Mulhollan concluded that Mr. Davis “showed poor judgment and discretion . . . not consistent with ‘acceptable service'”.

Well – there you go. Let’s keep our eye on this, shall we?

Related Post:

Your job or your blog, er op-ed

Related Item:

Secrecy News: CRS: “Not a Happy Place”

Quickie: Human Trafficking in America

Zambia, human trafficking posterImage by mvcorks via Flickr

For six months Kansas City Star reporters traveled the world, from Guatemalan migrant shelters to the deadly streets of Tijuana, investigating America’s war against human trafficking.

They found that America is losing the battle — even in its own backyard. In fact, Kansas City is an emerging hub of human trafficking activity.

Economic opportunity in the U.S. draws human trafficking victims from all over the world. Estimates on the number of victims have varied from 17,500 a year now to 50,000 annually earlier this decade; nobody really knows. International victims are smuggled across borders or can enter legally and fall into slavery. See the Trafficking Primer here (PDF)

This week the Kansas City Star is running a 5-part series on human trafficking in America. Click here to access days four & five (links have not been updated as of this writing):

Day One: A new slavery

Beckoned by the land of the free, immigrants wind up being held against their will for labor, sex and money.

Day Two: Snares of the sex trade

International sex trafficking is more complex and problematic than the U.S. law designed to combat it. Meanwhile, domestic victims are getting scant attention.

Day Three: Fraud’s welcome mat

America’s intricate, fraud-plagued work visa program is a welcome mat for modern-day slavers.

Day Four: Coming Wednesday – No questions asked

Some suspected victims, in violation of U.S. policy, are being deported on government-run airlines based in Kansas City.

Day Five: Coming Thursday – No easy fixes

A new approach is needed, and changes are coming.

Click here to read the entire series.

Insider Quote: He Who Runs On is White Noise

“It has become increasingly apparent over these months that I have a problem, and it is all-too-common in the new-to-bureaucracy demographic. Ladies and gentlemen, I am too prosaic for my own good. Wordy, even. So, in recognition of this situation, I made an early New Year’s Resolution: to become “cogent Ben.”

You see, in a culture where millions of words are exchanged daily in the form of telegrams, e-mails, cables, and faxes, He Who Runs On is the one considered white noise. People like succinct and they like punch. There’s only 24 hours in a day and heaven forbid we waste these precious seconds working our minds around passive voice and dangling modifiers. Naturally, we would want to avoid this anyway — it is just terrible writing, after all — but simple S-V-O should be considered the sentence structure du jour.”

By Ben
Just Spit it Out Already
from FS Blog: Random Neural Firings