Posted: 3:26 pm ET
[twitter-follow screen_name=’Diplopundit’ ]
But not really.
In February 2014, we posted about an anonymous Foreign Service officer who got on Reddit, the “front page of the Internet” and did an AMAA (Ask Me Almost Anything) see IamA United States Diplomat: Anonymous FSO Gets on Reddit and He’s a Riot! Three days ago, a Diplomatic Security Service Agent got on Reddit and did an AMA (Ask Me Anything). The thread is not quite as popular as Anonymous FSO’s, nor as funny, but informative nonetheless though the discreetness maybe debatable. It includes Q&As about risks, donuts, Hillary Clinton, indirect fire, USSS, James Bond, training, the best/worst part of the job, and um…folks, “badge bunnies.” It does not look like anyone among the Reddit users tried to scare the DSS agent with the FAM but perhaps one doesn’t need scaring anymore given that the FAM is not regulations.
While we discovered that Anonymous FSO’s AMA disappeared from Reddit last year (Whoa! What happened to the Anonymous FSO on Reddit?), the DSS Agent’s AMA only lasted three days before it went poof! A photo of the DSS badge, with a scrawled 6/30/16 and handle is still up on Imgur.
All answers to the questions posted on Reddit have now been deleted, as well. The permalinks are provided below but the links to the answers will direct to the deleted page. The DSS Agent is using the handle Not_in_Benghazi and his answers in the snippets below are highlighted in blue font. Here’s the deleted introduction from Reddit:
Last week I was supposed to go to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for a business trip. I been to Riyadh a few times. Two days before I flew out the state dept. Issued a warning to all Americans in Jeddah about imminent threat of a terrorist attacks. This was the only trip, I have ever backed out of. Do you think I made the right choice? I got some heat for not going. I am engineer and was suppose to help with the kings tower on building it. I just want to know what a person Like you would advise? Sorry for typos on a phone. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jul/21/saudi-arabia-us-embassy-security-threat-jeddah
Risk tolerance is a very personal decision. I can tell you that the State Department does not issue those type of notices lightly, as they have obvious repercussions with the Host Nation, and the public.
When in doubt, do what you feel comfortable with.
Do you guys do donuts?
I love doughnuts. Who doesn’t? They are damn delicious!
Do you think attacks on Hillary Clinton over what happened in Benghazi are fair? permalink
I think being at the top is tough. I’m not going to defend or slam Clinton, but to assume she operated in a vacuum is absurd. Decisions are made with input from multiple sources, to include the National Security Council and the White House. Someone always has to bear the brunt of the blame in the public eye, however. permalink
What was the most dangerous situation you have been in while working for the DSS? permalink
Hmmm. Indirect Fire is arguably the most terrifying thing IMO. Service Members can feel free to agree or disagree, but something about hearing the alarms and not knowing when/where it will hit is a surreal experience. permalink
Do you find that people confuse you for the USSS a lot, especially on protective details? Also, in terms of protection, besides who the protectee is (SOS or other foreign dignitary vs POTUS, etc), is there any real difference between the work you do and what the USSS does?permalink
Ha ha ha. Absolutely. Nobody knew who the hell we were before Benghazi, and I’d argue very few do now. Sometimes it can work to our advantage ;).
I’d say we go about protection a bit differently, largely in-part because there are about 2000 of us (half of which are overseas at any given time), and nearly double that in the USSS. permalink
How did you come into this job?
What is the best/worst part of the job? permalink
I always wanted to be in Federal Law Enforcement and to live/travel abroad. I found out about DS in college and years later was hired.
Best – I’ve been paid to hang out with olympic athletes and visited approximately 30 countries, some of which most people have never even heard of.
Worst – The job is hard on a family. The joke amongst agents is that DSS really stands for “Divorced Separated or Single.” permalink
Is it easy to pick up women/men when you tell them what you so for a living or harder?
I imagine office dating must be pretty popular for you guys right? permalink
There are “badge bunnies” all over, so yes.
Eh, surprisingly I don’t think it as common as people think. I mean it definitely happens, but in general I think agents kind of stay away from other agents. It could be far too disastrous when things go south. permalink
Is there a better way of assessing authenticity? Also what makes you special as in special agent? permalink
As every federal, state, and local organization has different credentials, I can’t think of a better way other than calling “911” and inquiring.
The “special” is a legal term and indicates that our authority is limited in some way, shape, or form. We don’t have unlimited authority as agents of the government, instead, we have special authority to investigate specific statutes. That said, many states grant federal agents peace officer status within their jurisdiction. permalink
The event I was discussing was a long time ago. To be honnest, from what i’ve seen, no one is doing this “Crowd Diving” anymore.
What was the funnyest/oddest unscheduled stop or plan deviation that you have had to deal with? permalink
I’ve gone to a strip club with a group of foreign dignitaries and I’ve been “clubbing” on numerous occasions. permalink
How long was your training and hiring process? From the time you got your letter of offer to when you were deployed in the field?
Are you initially deployed with “less important, important protectees?” How do they work you in for you to get experience? permalink
Our hiring process is significantly faster than many other Federal agencies IMO. I applied and was made an offer approximately six months later. Our training consists of:
1) 3 weeks of foreign service specialist orientation; 2) 56 days of the Criminal Investigator Training Program at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center; followed by 3) Approximately 3 months of DS specific training.
Then we get our creds, firearm, and badge.
Then later we go on to complete a 10 week high threat course (most agents do anyway), 3 month Basic Regional Security Officer Course, Basic Firearms Officer Course, and other firearms, language training.
There is a LOT of training out there and much of it is front loaded.
Almost every agent will start their tour in a field office and you protect whoever comes through town. You may be in a support role such as driving, early on, however, it doesn’t take long before you are thrown to the wolves. We are small and therefore are asked to take on higher levels of responsibility early on. It’s one of the things I love about the job. permalink
Do you find there is a lot of misinformation out there about ‘big brothers’ capabilities, in terms of gathering information and preparing for tragic events? I feel like everyone thinks it is all knowing and all powerful, but it can only be as human as the humans that run it right? permalink
While I cannot get into the specifics of the Whiz Bang behind what keeps us safe as anything worth discussing is sensitive and/or classified, I will say that this isn’t 24, Fast and Furious, or CSI. The dedicated work of thousands of government employees working together (sometimes) is what keeps the world (and the United States) safe IMO.permalink