Burn Bag: Post Closure — O Courage, Where Art Thou?

 

Via Burn Bag:

“This place will be closed. It’s inevitable because it’s just too dangerous. We’ve got only a skeleton staff of direct hires here now because of the danger. But the bureaucracy is, it seems, incapable of having the courage to make the decision that will result in the flag being lowered once and for all. A week passes. And then another. Still, no decision. So we raise the flag every day. And wait. We live in limbo–and fear of another attack. Fingers crossed we don’t get killed while waiting.”

Photo via state.gov

 

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Colombian Nationals Extradited to U.S. For Bogotá Death of DEA Special Agent Terry Watson

— Domani Spero
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In June 2013, we blogged about the death of DEA Special Agent Terry Watson in Bogota, Colombia (see US Embassy Bogota: DEA Special Agent James “Terry” Watson Killed in Colombia).  On July 2, 2014, the Department of Justice announced the extradition of seven Colombian nationals charged in connection with the DEA agent’s death.

Via USDOJ:

Seven Colombian nationals were extradited to the United States to face charges relating to the kidnapping and murder of Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent James Terry Watson.
[…]
“DEA Special Agent James ‘Terry’ Watson was a brave and talented special agent who represented everything good about federal law enforcement and our DEA family,” said DEA Administrator Leonhart.  “We will never forget Terry’s sacrifice on behalf of the American people during his 13 years of service, nor will DEA ever forget the outstanding work of the Colombian National Police and our other law enforcement partners.  Their efforts quickly led to the arrest and extradition of those accused of committing this heinous act.”

All of the defendants were indicted by a grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia on July 18, 2013.   Gerardo Figueroa Sepulveda, 39; Omar Fabian Valdes Gualtero, 27; Edgar Javier Bello Murillo, 27; Hector Leonardo Lopez, 34; Julio Estiven Gracia Ramirez, 31; and Andrés Alvaro Oviedo-Garcia, 22, were each charged with two counts of second degree murder, one count of kidnapping and one count of conspiracy to kidnap.  Oviedo-Garcia was also charged with two counts of assault.   Additionally, the grand jury indicted Wilson Daniel Peralta-Bocachica, 31, also a Colombian national, for his alleged efforts to destroy evidence associated with the murder of Special Agent Watson.

The defendants arrived in the United States on July 1, 2014, and made their initial appearance in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, today before United States Magistrate Judge Thomas Rawles Jones Jr.   A detention hearing is scheduled for July 9, 2014, before United States Magistrate Judge Ivan D. Davis.
[…]
According to the indictment, Figueroa, Valdes, Bello, Lopez, Gracia and Oviedo-Garcia were part of a kidnapping and robbery conspiracy that utilized taxi cabs in Bogotá, Colombia, to lure victims into a position where they could be attacked and robbed.  Once an intended victim entered a taxi cab, the driver of the taxi cab would signal other conspirators to commence the robbery and kidnapping operation.

The indictment alleges that on June 20, 2013, while he was working for the U.S. Mission in Colombia, Special Agent Watson entered a taxi cab operated by one of the defendants.  Special Agent Watson was then allegedly attacked by two other defendants – one who stunned Special Agent Watson with a stun gun and another who stabbed Special Agent Watson with a knife, resulting in his death.

On July 1, 2014, the Government of Colombia extradited the defendants to the United States.

This case was investigated by the FBI, DEA and DSS, including the Office of Special Investigations and the Regional Security Office at Embassy Bogatá, in close cooperation with Colombian authorities, and with assistance from INTERPOL and the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs.

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Meet the State Department’s Next Executive Secretary — Ambassador Joe Macmanus

— Domani Spero
[twitter-follow screen_name=’Diplopundit’ ]

 

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Vienna Office Joe Macmanus - who is the State Department's incoming Executive Secretary - before addressing staffers from the three Department missions in Vienna, Austria, during a break in the Iran nuclear talks on July 14, 2014.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Vienna Office Joe Macmanus – who is the State Department’s incoming Executive Secretary – before addressing staffers from the three Department missions in Vienna, Austria, during a break in the Iran nuclear talks on July 14, 2014.

 

Ambassador McManus will succeed Ambassador John Bass who was appointed Executive Secretary of State in October 2009. Last month, Ambassador Bass was nominated by President Obama  to be our next ambassador to the Republic of Turkey.

A career member of the Foreign Service holding the rank of Minister Counselor, Ambassador McManus served as the Executive Assistant to Secretary Clinton from May 2012 until November 2012, and from January 2009 until April 2011. As the senior professional aide to Secretary Clinton, he helped to manage the Secretary’s professional office and staff, and accompanied her on foreign travel. From June 2008 until January 2009, he served in the same capacity under former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. More from state.gov:

Ambassador Macmanus was the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs from April 2011 until May 2012. He served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs from 2005 until 2008, managing an office of 30 liaison officers responsible for the Department’s day-to-day relationship with Congress on legislation, budget and appropriations, and foreign policy. He has served in this and other capacities in the Department since 2003.

Ambassador Macmanus entered the Foreign Service in 1986 as a Public Diplomacy Officer at the United States Information Agency (USIA). From 1986 until 2003, he served in various Public Diplomacy positions in Mexico, El Salvador, Poland, Belgium, and at the U.S. Information Agency headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Ambassador Macmanus served as Assistant to the Deputy Director of USIA from 1995 until 1999, where he worked on a number of initiatives in democracy, human rights, and the consolidation of the U.S. Information Agency into the Department of State.

Ambassador Macmanus has a B.A. in English from the University of Notre Dame and a Masters in Information Science from the State University of New York.

 

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