(S.1635) Sec. 604. Protecting the Integrity of Internal Investigations #DOSAA16

Posted: 12:44 am PT
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S.1635 Department of State Operations Authorization and Embassy Security Act, Fiscal Year 2016 passed the Senate by unanimous consent on April 28, 2016. (See Whoa! Senate Passes @StateDept Operations Authorization and Embassy Security Act, FY2016).  The House needs to pass it as well, and we haven’t been able to find the House bill.  However, on April 29, the Senate did send a message to the House requesting its concurrence to the FY16 authorization bill.  The bill is currently held at the desk for floor action; it doesn’t look like the House will be back in session until May 10.

Read the bill via congressional record in PDF or as TEXT here. Below is the section on protecting the integrity of internal investigations and reporting requirements from State Department bureaus, posts and offices to the Office of Inspector General. Note the provisions on investigations as they relate to the Bureau of Diplomatic Security:

 

SEC. 604. PROTECTING THE INTEGRITY OF INTERNAL INVESTIGATIONS.

Section 209(c)(5) of the Foreign Service Act of 1980 (22 U.S.C. 3929(c)(5)) is amended by inserting at the end the following new subparagraph:

“(C) Required reporting of allegations and investigations and inspector general authority.–

“(i) In general.–Each bureau, post or other office (in this subparagraph, an `entity’) of the Department of State shall, within five business days, report to the Inspector General any allegations of–

“(I) waste, fraud, or abuse in a Department program or operation;

“(II) criminal or serious misconduct on the part of a Department employee at the FS-1, GS-15, GM-15 level or higher;

“(III) criminal misconduct on the part of any Department employee; and

“(IV) serious, noncriminal misconduct on the part of any individual who is authorized to carry a weapon, make arrests, or conduct searches, such as conduct that, if proved, would constitute perjury or material dishonesty, warrant suspension as discipline for a first offense, or result in loss of law enforcement authority.

“(ii) Inspector general authority.–The Inspector General may, pursuant to existing authority, investigate matters covered by clause (i).

“(iii) Limitation on investigations outside of office of inspector general.–No entity in the Department of State with concurrent jurisdiction over matters covered by clause (i), including the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, may initiate an investigation of such matter unless it has first reported the allegations to the Inspector General as required by clause (i), except as provided in clause (v) and (vi).

“(iv) Cooperation.–If an entity in the Department of State initiates an investigation of a matter covered in clause (i) the entity must, except as provided in clause (v), fully cooperate with the Inspector General, including–

“(I) by providing to the Inspector General all data and records obtained in connection with its investigation upon request of the Inspector General;

“(II) by coordinating, at the request of the Inspector General, such entity’s investigation with the Inspector General; and

“(III) by providing to the Inspector General requested support in aid of the Inspector General’s oversight and investigative responsibilities.

“(v) Exceptions.–The Inspector General may prescribe general rules under which any requirement of clause (iii) or clause (iv) may be dispensed with.

“(vi) Exigent circumstances.–Compliance with clauses (i), (iii), and (iv) of this subparagraph may be dispensed with by an entity of the Department of State if complying with them in an exigent circumstance would pose an imminent threat to human life, health or safety, or result in the irretrievable loss or destruction of critical evidence or witness testimony, in which case a report of the allegation shall be made not later than 48 hours after an entity begins an investigation under the authority of this clause and cooperation required under clause (iv) shall commence not later than 48 hours after the relevant exigent circumstance has ended.

“(vii) Rule of construction.–Nothing in this subparagraph may be interpreted to affect any duty or authority of the Inspector General under any provision of law, including the Inspector General’s duties or authorities under the Inspector General Act.”.

The bill’s other provisions related to the OIG and SIGAR are below:

Sec. 602. Competitive hiring status for former employees of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.
Sec. 603. Assurance of independence of IT systems.

Sec. 604. Protecting the integrity of internal investigations.

Sec. 605. Report on Inspector General inspection and auditing of Foreign Service posts and bureaus and operating units Department of State.

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Secretary Kerry Takes Questions From @StateDept Kids at Take Your Child to Work Day

Posted: 12:32 am PT
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On April 28, 2016, Secretary Kerry took questions from State Department kids who participated in the Take Your Child to Work Day in Foggy Bottom. Ben. F. Franklin was in attendance. Last year, Secretary Kerry also allowed himself to be quizzed (see Foreign Service Kids Grill Secretary Kerry During Take Your Child to Work Day).  Below is an excerpt from the Q&A:

 

QUESTION: Okay. Hi. Once you’re finished being Secretary of State, what are your plans?
SECRETARY KERRY: Honestly, I don’t know yet. I really don’t. I’ve begun to kind of occasionally have a thought cross my mind about it, but I’ve got too much work to do between now and then. We have another nine months, I guess, or so, and I just – and first – and I’m not allowed. I’m not allowed to talk to a company or something like that while I’m Secretary, which is a good rule. So I’ll think about it starting the day I leave. (Laughter.) Okay?
QUESTION: Okay. Thank you.
SECRETARY KERRY: What do you suggest? Do you got any ideas? (Laughter.)
QUESTION: Not really.

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QUESTION: So what did you, like – what made you think that you wanted to be Secretary of State?
SECRETARY KERRY: Not becoming president of the United States. (Laughter, applause.)
Actually, I’ll tell you the truth. I’m going to tell you the truth: When I was running for president of the United States, I actually said to my staff, “The best job in the government is actually not president, it’s secretary of state.” That’s what I said, and I still – believe it even more now. Thank you.

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QUESTION: On your plane, do they have, like, beds and stuff? (Laughter.)
SECRETARY KERRY: Well, you’re opening a very, very sore subject. (Laughter.) Because, yes, there is a bed – one bed. You can probably guess who gets it. (Laughter.) The plane – it’s a great plane, and the Air Force does an extraordinary job of flying us around the world. As you know, I have flown now more than a million miles since I’ve been Secretary, and we’ve been to over 81 countries. But I have to tell you it’s an old plane that is – and it’s tough on the staff, because the seats aren’t as modern and don’t go far as back, and you can’t lie down. And so for me, I can actually lie flat, but nobody else on the plane gets to lie flat unless you lie on the ground, bring a futon – and I haven’t seen a lot of people do that on this plane. So hopefully over time we can fix that up a little bit. But there is one bed.

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QUESTION: Hi. I’m Savannah. I’m nine. And I wanted to know who you’re going to vote for president for 2016. (Laughter and applause.)
SECRETARY KERRY: Okay. So I’m going to give you a half answer, okay? I’m not allowed to get into politics, and I don’t get into politics, but it is well-known that I work for President Obama, President Obama is a Democrat, I was elected as a Democrat to the Senate, and I served and I ran for president of the United States as a Democrat. So you can count on the fact I will be voting for the Democrat, okay? (Applause.) Thank you.

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@StateDept to Rebrand Some Economic Officers as “Digital Economy Officers”

Posted: 11:25 pm PT
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We are familiar with ICT which stands for International Crimes Tribunal and ICT for Information and Communication Technologies for Section 508 accessibility but we just learned that the State Department also has econ officers who are referred to apparently as “ICT officers.”  Some posts have Environment, Science and Technology officers but pardon for asking  — isn’t info and comm technology just one part of an econ officer’s portfolio overseas?  Are there folks actually called ICT officers?  In any case, if there are, they will now be rebranded as “digital economy officers.”

Via state.gov:

Economic officers in our embassies around the world are today working hard to advance U.S. interests as the digital economy expands and to ensure the proliferation of technology contributes to global prosperity and our national security. However, those responsibilities are shifting in shape and growing in importance and impact almost as quickly as the underlying technologies themselves. And we are responding to that challenge.

To start off, we formerly referred to our officers managing these issues in our embassies and consulates as “ICT officers.” But this term doesn’t reflect how critical their work is to the economy overall. As a result, we are rebranding our ICT officers as “digital economy officers” to better reflect the scope and depth of the work that they need to do in markets abroad.

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