Thank you to our folks at Diplomatic Security and Overseas Bldgs Operations

H/T to TSB of The Skeptical Bureaucrat for the video of the Peshawar attack as well as the GAO report on enhanced security of embassy compounds from 2008.  The LATimes report that “Taliban militants reeling from American and Pakistani attacks launched a sophisticated raid on the heavily guarded U.S. Consulate in Peshawar on Monday, killing at least five security personnel in suicide bomb blasts and barrages of grenades and automatic gunfire. The midday attack failed to penetrate the facility in the volatile city near the Afghan border, and none of the staff members were injured or killed.” Read more here.

A big round of thanks go to Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) and Diplomatic Security (DS). Stop by at their office, send them an email, tell them their work is appreciated. While we are saddened at the death of the local guards, we are deeply mindful that the casualties could have been much worse if it were not for the work these bureaus did in the Peshawar site:  

From TSBThe video also has a very brief glimpse of the end of the fight. At that point, the attackers who were on foot had failed to create a breach in the consulate’s perimeter that could be exploited by the last of their two truck bombs, and they can be seen standing with their arms raised, apparently surrendering, when the last truck bomb was detonated behind them, killing them.
[…]
[O]n the most basic level, what happened here is that the U.S. State Department took physical security measures in Peshawar – onerous, expensive, and difficult to implement measures, which you can find a generic description of on pages 11 and 12 of this publicly available source of information – to ensure that it would be able to protect its employees, using its own resources, until the Pakistani government had the time it needed to respond to the attack.


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The Case of a First-Tour FSO and His First Two EERs

This is an old case from 2001; might even be called part of history now. For some reason, the last time I look through the cases in the FSGB website this one kept popping on top. Anyway, the grievant, a State Department first tour junior officer in the consular cone, grieved, as inaccurate and falsely prejudicial, the two employee evaluation reports (EER), he received while serving as a consular/administrative officer in [Blank]. The EERs were written by the same rating and reviewing officers. According to the FSGB record, the grievant was also “is a lawyer and a naturalized American citizen, born in France. He was naturalized in 1993 and was 50 years old when he joined the Foreign Service in 1998 to ” … put more than three decades of overseas experience to the service of his country.”
“On March 6, 2001, [Grievant] appealed to this Board, in essence requesting the same relief as stated above, as well as compensatory time off for time spent defending against false accusations. There followed, inter alia, voluminous submissions of documents and extensive discovery. Additional interrogatories and motions were denied as unnecessary, irrelevant or immaterial by this Board. The Record of Proceedings (ROP) was closed on October 23, 2001.”
One part of the Board’s decision jumped out the page when I was reading this:
“Grievant clearly believes that his interpretations of Department “directives” were the only correct conclusions. He continues to insist that his implementation of Consular Best Practices “was merely following Departmental instructions.” He admits to arguing, persisting, and confronting his supervisors. He admits to seeking guidance and then ignoring it. His civility, patience and courtliness with others aside, it is obvious to this Board that he considered himself to be older and more experienced than his supervisors and that he had little to learn from them.”
Read more below if you have the time or the interest:

FSGB_First Tour ConOff http://d1.scribdassets.com/ScribdViewer.swf?document_id=28199059&access_key=key-1mbstpwayehchyx8ca3v&page=1&viewMode=list

US Embassy Kabul: Guarding the Guards

DS has conducted interviews and is now in the selection and hiring process for personal service contractors (i.e., employees engaged directly by the government rather than a third-party contractor) who will reside at guard camps in Iraq and Afghanistan and assist the RSO with contract oversight responsibilities. This initiative is being implemented at all posts with expatriate/third country national security contractors living in camps. The personnel must have experience in managing overseas protective security programs; experience in high threat locations (preferably); and experience in contractual issues related to security operations and regulations governing the use of private security contractors. Additional contract oversight training will be provided. Until the personal service contractor for Kabul is hired and in place, a DS Agent will remain assigned to the U.S. Embassy’s guard camp 24 hours/7 days a week.


Questions for the Record
Submitted by Ambassador Eric Boswell
Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
December 9, 2009
Ambassador Eric Boswell in this response to McCaskill’s questions (see p. 4):

Quote: Stereotyping diplomacy, sounds familiar?

Distinguished American DiplomatsImage by misterbisson via Flickr
“Stereotyping diplomacy is very easy to do. We suffer from it enormously and we haven’t found any very effective response. There was a case the other day, about travel advice, in the light of recent sad events in the Yemen and Uganda, where a spokesman for the Travel Agents Association or something says – the Foreign Office travel people are bow-tied ex-Oxford types – if anything could be further from the truth I can’t imagine but that is the stereotype she wanted to portray because she feels that strikes a chord particularly in the tabloids and perhaps more generally across British public opinion.”

Sir David Gore-Booth
Former British Ambassador to India

British Diplomatic Oral History Project | 1999
David Alwyn Gore-Booth, diplomat and banker (1943- 2004)