Posted: 12:19 am ET
Updated: 9:05 pm PT
According to the Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM), a delegation of authority states the specific actions for which an officer has authority, as well as the limitations and special conditions that apply to the authority. A delegation of authority is subject to any legally prescribed condition or criteria of execution, whether or not mentioned in the delegation. The FAM identifies two authorities:
(1) Authorities originally assigned to the Secretary or the Department: Unless otherwise specified in law, the Secretary of State may delegate authority to perform any of the functions of the Secretary or the Department of State to officers and employees under the direction and supervision of the Secretary. If the Secretary so specifies, such functions may be redelegated by the delegated officer or employee to any officers and employees under the delegated officers direction and supervision (see 22 U.S.C. 2651a); and
(2) Authorities originally assigned to the President: If an authority was originally assigned to the President, there must be a delegation of authority from the President to the Secretary or the Department before a Department of State delegation of authority to a Department officer can be signed. In addition, unless otherwise specified in law, authorities originally delegated from the President may only be redelegated to officials who are appointed by and with the advice of the Senate (see 3 U.S.C. 301).
We heard from sources that Secretary Tillerson has rescinded all delegated authorities last week. The two sources are not Public Affairs shop officials. The revocation of authorities is department-wide and includes everything apparently from the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) sanctions, and even routine authorities related to military exercises.
One called it “completely insane.”
Another said, “Basically it’s a clusterfuck.”
The Bureau of Administration’s A/GIS/DIR is supposed to maintain a database of delegated authorities including those rescinded. But, of course, those are not public. On July 20, the Federal Register published the May 1 delegation of authority by Tillerson to the Director of the Office of U.S. Foreign Assistance Resources.
Below are some examples of delegated authorities:
Secretary of State to the Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security: Diplomatic The Secure Embassy Construction and Counterterrorism Act of 1999 (Foreign Relations Authorization Act, FY 2000 and 2001, Title VI, Public Law 106-113) (22 U.S.C. 4865), established two security requirements for U.S. diplomatic facilities abroad: collocation and setback. The authority to waive these requirements has been delegated from the Secretary of State to the Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security, except for chancery and consulate buildings.
OFM’s Director and Deputy Director: Requests from foreign missions for the Department to certify to the Department of the Treasury the reciprocal income tax exemption privileges that are provided to employees of the U.S. mission in the respective country. Such certifications are required under 26 U.S.C. 893(b). The authority to make such certifications has been delegated to OFM’s Director and Deputy Director.
Deputy Legal Advisers: Per 22 CFR 172.4 and 172.5 (approval of testimony and production of documents by Department employees, delegated to the Deputy Legal Advisers by Delegation of Authority No. 206, dated September 7, 1993).
Under Secretary for Management : The Secretary of State is responsible for control of the organizational structure and assignment of functions in the Department of State. The Secretary has delegated this authority to the Under Secretary for Management (M). Other authorities delegated to M are (not an exhaustive list):
- Department of State Delegation of Authority No. 311, Negotiation, Conclusion and Termination of Treaties and Other International Agreements;
- Department of State Delegation of Authority No. 147, Delegation of Authorities vested in the Secretary by Title II of the Basic Authorities Act (primarily foreign mission administration), dated September 13, 1982;
- Department of State Delegation of Authority No. 147-1, covering acceptance of gifts and vehicles overseas, dated December 21, 1990.
Bureau of Consular Affairs: We don’t know how many delegated authorities there are in totality but the Bureau of Consular Affairs alone has 27 delegated authorities going back to 1969. We understand that this was recently just been renegotiated. Here are some (not an exhaustive list):
- Delegation of Authority 119 (2/13/1969): Authority to designate persons who shall be authorized and empowered to administer oaths in connection with the execution of passport applications.
- Delegation of Authority 143 (10/30/1981): Delegation of Authority to Issue Certificates of Authentication for Documents Maintained by the Office of Passport Services Department of State.
- Delegation of Authority 253 (9/1/2002): Delegation from the Secretary of State to the Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs Exceptions from Port-of-Entry Special Registration, Fingerprinting and Photographing (Class A Referrals).
- Delegation of Authority 261 (9/16/2003): Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 – Authority of the Secretary of State under the Hague Adoption Convention and the IAA delegated to the Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs.
- Delegation of Authority 361 (7/15/2013): Authority to disclose certain visa information to national security officials for a national security purpose.
- Delegation of Authority 298 (4/9/2007): Delegation by the Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Overseas Citizens Services; the Managing Director, Overseas Citizens Services; the Director, Office of Children’s Issues, Overseas Citizens Services; and the Director, Office of American Citizens Services, Overseas Citizens Services, of Authority to Issue Hague Adoption Certificates and Custody Declarations.
- Delegations of Authorities 367 (9/17/2013)and 367-3 (3/30/2015): Authority to administer and enforce immigration and nationality laws, and re-delegation of certain of those authorities to CA/VO, CA/VO/L/A, and CA/VO/L/R.
So this is really bonkers. Whoever advised Tillerson to rescind the delegation of authorities department-wide could not possibly be this dumb because this is one quick way of gumming up further the entire agency. Much more than it already has been gummed up.
Why yes, if you need a pass for the State Department parking garage, you have to ask Tillerson’s Front Office for that, too.
The parking garage permit needs the 7th Floor approval. Just think about that.
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