Painless Process Exhibit: A Schedule C Employee Takes a Job at the State Department

Posted: 2:46  am ET
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Remember in 2014,  when the State Department officially rejected criticisms that too many top diplomatic jobs have gone to political appointees rather than to career foreign service officers? The official who rebutted that criticism was the spokesperson of the State Department, Jennifer Psaki, a former political operative and herself, a political appointee (see Political Appointee Rejects Criticisms of Too Many Political Picks at the State Department).

Below is part of an FOIA case filed by Judicial Watch that shows what happens when a Schedule C political appointee gets a job at the State Department. Let us not kid ourselves.  This has been going on for years and years.  This goes on with every new administration. But this is the first time, we get a look at the discussion that goes on behind the scene. It also shows just how deeply the political appointees moved into the bureaucracy in places like IRM where you would not expect to find one. Poor IRM folks did not even know what is a PAS.

Here are a few things we learned:

  • Somebody needs to write a position description (PD) that fits the Schedule C employee to be; no need for
  • The position description needs to be classified per OPM guidance for GS position. No worries, somebody will make that happened.
  • Once the position is OPM-classified, bringing the Schedule C employee onboard takes 2-4 weeks.
  • Schedule C pay will match current pay
  • Schedule C employee reports to a PAS; not a traditional supervisor/employee position.

Read the emails below:



Yemen: Retired U.S. Diplomats on American-Backed Saudi War in Yemen

Posted: 1:50 am ET
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Via The Intercept::

“I don’t think you can restore a government, especially an unpopular one, from the air, and I don’t think the use of force in this matter does anything but create long-term enmity,” said Chas Freeman, who served as the ambassador to Saudi Arabia between 1989 and 1992. He noted that former President Hadi’s unpopularity was partly due to his deep ties to Saudi Arabia and the United States.
“The humanitarian situation is as bad as it is in Syria,” said Bill Rugh, who was ambassador to Yemen between 1984 and 1987. “The American press hasn’t paid that much attention to it. But it’s been a disaster particularly as a result of the bombing and … the lack of outside humanitarian assistance as a result of the fighting. It’s really been tragic for the Yemeni people. The country’s always been very poor but to have your hospitals and your schools and your civilian population bombed and killed and injured on a large scale has added to their tragedy.”
“Our participation in the war is only silent in the United States Congress and in Washington, D.C.,” Murphy said at an event on Saudi relations at the Brookings Institute on April 21. “In the region, it’s not silent at all. Yemenis will tell you that this isn’t a Saudi-led bombing campaign, this is a U.S.-Saudi bombing campaign.”

Freeman offered an explanation for the silence on Capitol Hill. “Congress is amazingly responsive to the military-industrial complex, and it’s making a bunch of money by providing munitions, ordinance, as it’s expended,” Freeman said.


USCG Shanghai Hanscom Smith Marries Taiwanese Partner Eric Lu

Posted: 1:46 am PT
Updated: 5:06 pm PT
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According to USCG Shanghai, Hansom “Hanscom” Smith, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, has been Consul General at the United States Consulate General in Shanghai since September 2014. He previously served at the United States embassies in Yaounde, Copenhagen, Phnom Penh, Bangkok, Kabul, and Beijing. In addition, Mr. Smith has served in the Office of Japanese Affairs at the Department of State, and was team leader at the United States Provincial Reconstruction Team in Muthanna Province, Iraq. He has also worked at the American Institute in Taiwan. Mr. Smith holds a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University and master’s degrees from the London School of Economics and Princeton University. His foreign languages are French, Danish, Khmer, and Mandarin Chinese.  CG Smith married his Taiwanese partner, Lü Yingzong (Eric Lu) in San Francisco.




Where, Oh, Where Is Bryan Pagliano’s Outlook PST File?

Posted: 1:38 am ET
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Microsoft Outlook automatically stores messages, contacts, appointments, tasks, notes, and journal entries in a personal storage folder, also known as a .pst file on the hard disk drive or  the information is probably being stored in a mailbox on an Exchange Server .  According to Microsoft:

To know how to back up your data if you use Outlook with a Microsoft Exchange Server, you have to know where the data is stored. The default delivery and storage location for Outlook data is the Exchange Server mailbox. The Exchange Server administrator usually handles backups of the mailboxes on the server. However, some Exchange Server administrators store Outlook data in a .pst file on your hard disk drive.

So, question is — who was the administrator who handled the backups for IRM folks?

Below via DPB of May 10, 2016:

QUESTION: Yesterday in its court submission, the RNC said that you guys had told them that you would not be producing any of Mr. Pagliano – any more, I guess, of Mr. Pagliano’s emails. Is that correct?

MS TRUDEAU: So thank you for that, because there’s been some unclear reporting on this. So the department has searched Mr. Pagliano’s email PST file and has not located one that covers the time period of Secretary Clinton’s tenure. The absence of this email file, however, does not indicate that the department has no emails sent or received by him. In fact, we have previously produced through FOIA and to Congress emails sent and received by Mr. Pagliano during Secretary Clinton’s tenure. Furthermore, at no point did the State Department convey to the RNC that we did not intend to produce responsive emails within our possession consistent with our obligations under the law.

QUESTION: Okay, but I mean, are you done? Have you given them everything that they are – should get that you have?

MS TRUDEAU: So we continue to take a look at it. We will produce files as we are required under the law.

QUESTION: Right, I understand that. But do you know at the moment if you have – if there are emails that you have found from that time period that have just not yet been turned over to —

MS TRUDEAU: So the department’s ongoing – conducting a thorough search. I don’t have details on that, but at no point did we say to the RNC that we would not produce.

In February this year, Cause of Action also asked Senator Grassley of the Judiciary Comittee  and Congressman Chaffetz of the House Oversight Committee “to examine the similar issues that have arisen in the context of former Secretary of State Clinton and her closest advisors’ activities in the State Department.”

  1. Why were federal employees communicating over email accounts belonging to Mrs. Clinton’s campaign committee long after the campaign had ended?
  2. Why did Ms. Mills remain in possession and use of a campaign Blackberry during her employment at the State Department and who paid for that device?
  3. Who continued to pay for the email accounts being used by federal employees?
  4. What other email communications, potentially implicating official government business, did federal employees have using Clinton campaign email accounts, and have such email communications been recovered and saved to official government recordkeeping systems?
  5. What other ex-campaign staffers employed at the State Department or elsewhere in the government continued to use their Hillary Clinton campaign email accounts?
  6. Does the email exchange between Mrs. Clinton and Ms. Mills with the subject line “My candidacy” (attached as Ex. 3) implicate a violation of the Hatch Act, which prohibits government employees from using government time and resources to engage in political and campaign activities?

The emails cited in this letter are available to read here (PDF).