United States Diplomacy Center Seeks Diplomatic Artifacts For Its Collection

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In 1979, John Limbert was a new FSO posted to the U.S. Embassy in Tehran when it was overrun by Iranian students. He was one of the fifty-two U.S. personnel who spent 444 days as Iran hostages from 1979-81. Later in his career, he was appointed Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Mauritania. Ambassador Limbert and other Americans at the embassy were held captive for 14 months, and among their many hardships, they also contended with not having a change of clothes. He has now donated the items he wore and a pair of sandals given to him by his captors to the U.S. Diplomacy Center’s collection of diplomatic artifacts.

Via USDC:
The United States Diplomacy Center is actively seeking artifacts that represent American diplomacy and the work of the United States Department of State. These artifacts can come from a variety of individuals and sources. Anyone currently or previously working in a diplomatic capacity might have objects that could be a good fit for our collection. If you have items you might be interested in donating, please email them directly for more information. (Also see U.S. Diplomacy Center: Baseball Autographed by Russian Human Rights Activists). 
Specific areas of collecting interest include (but are not limited to) objects which illustrate the following:
      • Diplomat’s work on the range of global issues today, including examples from programs and partnerships
      • The challenges diplomats face while performing their jobs (security; health; communications; transportation)
      • The unique relationships and connections made through diplomacy
      • Diplomatic events, people, and places throughout U.S. history
      • The wide range of work performed at embassies, consulates, and missions
      • Tools, equipment, and clothing representing diplomatic efforts
      • And of course documents, pens, and diplomatic gifts
The United States Diplomacy Center collects primarily for exhibition purposes; USDC is not a research collection nor an archives.  Acceptance of an artifact does not guarantee exhibition for any length of time.  However, the Center strives to display as much of its collection as possible, either in-person or online.
Email the Center at DiplomacyCenter@state.gov.
Check out their online collection.

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After Leaked Diplomatic Letters Over A$AP Rocky’s Detention in Sweden, Where Should @StateSPEHA Go Next?

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Trump’s Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Robert O’Brien who was in Sweden for A$AP Rocky’s assault trial apparently told USAToday reporter Kim Hjelmgaard that it is “entirely appropriate” for him to be in Sweden even though this was a criminal case. “When foreign govts. hold American citizens it’s always appropriate”.
The things we learn these days!
As of December 2018, the Bureau of Consular Affairs has conducted 10,399 visits to U.S. citizens in prison overseas. Note – prison visits not hostage visits. Only a few of those U.S. citizens make the news (see CA Fact Sheet).
The Special Envoy for Hostage Affairs also said publicly, while tagging his ultimate boss on Twitter, that the president “has made bringing our fellow citizens home a center piece of his foreign policy”.
Consular work just got so utterly fascinating. Now, which ones of the over 10,000 prison visits by consular officers to U.S. citizens incarcerated overseas will now be done by the special envoy? Which fellow citizens jailed overseas will be brought home next?

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U.S. Embassy Eritrea CDA Natalie E. Brown to be U.S. Ambassador to Uganda

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On July 30, 2019, the WH announced the president’s intent to nominate Natalie E. Brown of Nebraska, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Uganda. The WH released the following brief bio:
Ms. Brown, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Counselor, currently serves as the Chief of Mission of the United States Embassy in Eritrea.  She previously served as Deputy Permanent Representative and Deputy Chief of Mission of the United States Mission to the United Nations Agencies in Rome, Italy, and as Deputy Chief of Mission of the United States Embassy in Tunis, Tunisia.  Ms. Brown also served overseas at the United States embassies in Jordan, Kuwait, Ethiopia, and Guinea.  In Washington, she served as Senior Watch Officer in the State Department Executive Secretariat’s Operations Center, International Affairs Officer in the Office of United Nations Political Affairs in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs, and Desk Officer for the Office of West African Affairs in Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger.  Ms. Brown earned her B.S. from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and M.S. from the U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College.  She speaks French and Arabic, and has studied Italian, German, Amharic, and Tigrinya.

If confirmed, Ms. Brown would succeed Deborah Ruth Malac (1955–) who was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Kampala from May 2015 until the present. Previous appointees to this position includes Scott H. DeLisi (1953–), Nancy Jo Powell (1947–) who later became DGHR, and Johnnie Carson (1943–) who later served as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs.

 

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Principal Deputy Coordinator for Counterterrorism Alina L. Romanowski to be to U.S. Ambassador to Kuwait

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On July 25, the WH announced the president’s intent to nominate Alina L. Romanowski, of Illinois, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the State of Kuwait. The WH released the following brief bio:
Ms. Romanowski, a career member of the Senior Executive Service, is the Principal Deputy Coordinator for Counterterrorism at the Department of State. Previously, she served as the Coordinator for United States Assistance to Europe and Eurasia in the Department’s Bureau for European and Eurasian Affairs, and the Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Middle East Bureau of the United States Agency for International Development.  Ms. Romanowski was twice a Deputy Assistant Secretary in the State Department’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs.  At the Defense Department, she was the founding Director of the Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies and served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs.
Ms. Romanowski earned her B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Chicago.  She is the recipient of a Presidential Distinguished Rank Award and two Presidential Meritorious Rank Awards.  She speaks French and has studied Arabic and Hebrew.

If confirmed, Ms. Romanowski would succeed Ambassador Lawrence R. Silverman who assumed his post as U.S. Ambassador  to Kuwait on September 19, 2016. Previous appointees  to this position includes Deborah Kay Jones (1956–)  who served from April 28, 2008–June 30, 2011; Matthew Haywood Tueller (1957–) who served from September 28, 2011–April 28, 2014 and is now U.S. Ambassador to Iraq; and Douglas Alan Silliman (1960–) who served from  September 15, 2014–August 3, 2016, and was previously the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq prior to retiring from the Foreign Service in 2019. He is now president of the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington.

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US Embassy Khartoum’s CDA Steven Christopher Koutsis to be U.S. Ambassador to Chad

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On July 24, 2019, the WH announced the president’s intent to nominate  Steven Christopher Koutsis, of Massachusetts, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Chad. The WH released the following brief info:
Steven Koutsis, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Minister Counselor, currently serves as Charge d’Affaires of the United States Embassy in Khartoum, Sudan.  Previously, he served as Director of the Office of the Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, Deputy Chief of Mission in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, and Deputy Director in the Office of Central African Affairs.  Earlier assignments include service as Team Leader of the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Diyala Province, Iraq, Political and Economic Counselor in Monrovia, Liberia, and Deputy Chief of Mission in Nouakchott, Mauritania.  Mr. Koutsis earned a B.A. from Boston University in 1979.  He is the recipient of the Department of Army Superior Civilian Service Award for his service in Iraq.  Mr. Koutsis speaks French and Arabic.
If confirmed, Mr.Koutsis would succeed Ambassador Geeta Pasi (1962–) who was appointed U.S. Ambasasdor to Chad from October 6, 2016–September 20, 2018.
According to AFSA, 21 career diplomats have been appointed as ambassador to Chad since 1960.  Chad is one of 41 Foreign Service posts with no history of political appointments.

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Former @StateDept Employee Candace Marie Claiborne Sentenced to 40 Months in Prison

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Correction: 40 months in prison, not 40 years.
In March 2017, the Justice Department announced the arrest of State Department employee, Candace Marie Claiborne, 60, of Washington, D.C. for obstructing an official proceeding and making false statements to the FBI, both felony offenses, and for allegedly concealing numerous contacts that she had over a period of years with foreign intelligence agents. (see @StateDept OMS Arrested/Charged With Concealing Extensive Contacts With Chinese Intel Agents).
In April 2019, USDOJ announced that Claiborne pled guilty to conspiring with foreign agents. (see Former @StateDept Employee Pleads Guilty to Conspiring with Foreign Agents).
On July 9, 2019, USDOJ announced that Claiborne was sentenced to 40 months in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $40,000, for conspiracy to defraud the United States, by lying to law enforcement and background investigators, and hiding her extensive contacts with, and gifts from, agents of the People’s Republic of China, in exchange for providing them with internal documents from the U.S. State Department.
Below via the DOJ announcement. See the original statement here.

The announcement was made by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu of the District of Columbia, Acting Assistant Director in Charge John P. Selleck of the FBI’s Washington Field Office and Deputy Assistant Secretary Ricardo Colón, Domestic Operations, U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS).

“Chinese intelligence agents convinced Candace Marie Claiborne to trade her integrity and confidential information of the United States government for cash and other gifts for herself and her family,” said Assistant Attorney General Demers. “Claiborne withheld information and lied repeatedly about these foreign intelligence contacts. Violations of the public’s trust are an affront to our citizens and to all those who honor their oaths. With this sentencing, justice has been imposed for these dishonorable criminal acts.”

“Candace Claiborne received gifts from foreign officials and lied to investigators repeatedly about her role in defrauding the U.S. government,” said U.S. Attorney Liu. “Claiborne violated her oath as a State Department employee, and we will continue to hold accountable those abuse their positions of trust.”

“Claiborne was entrusted with privileged information as a U.S. government employee, and she abused that trust at the expense of our nation’s security,” said John P. Selleck, Acting Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office. “The targeting of U.S. security clearance holders by Chinese intelligence services is a constant threat we face, and today’s sentencing shows that those who betray the trust of the American people will be held accountable for their actions. I would like to thank the men and women of the FBI Washington Field Office and our partners at the Department of Justice for their work in investigating and prosecuting this case.”

“This sentence makes a strong statement to those who would attempt to commit crimes that violate the public trust and damage our national security. The Diplomatic Security Service is dedicated to working with the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to ensure that those who commit these crimes are brought to justice,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary Colón.”

Claiborne, of Washington, D.C., pleaded guilty in April 2019 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, to a charge of conspiracy to defraud the United States. She was sentenced by the Honorable Randolph D. Moss.

According to the plea documents, Claiborne began working as an Office Management Specialist for the Department of State in 1999. She has served overseas at a number of posts, including embassies and consulates in Baghdad, Iraq, Khartoum, Sudan, and Beijing and Shanghai, China. As a condition of her employment, Claiborne maintained a TOP SECRET security clearance. Claiborne also was required to report any contacts with persons suspected of affiliation with a foreign intelligence agency.

Despite such a requirement, Claiborne failed to report repeated contacts with two intelligence agents of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), even though these agents provided tens of thousands of dollars in gifts and benefits to Claiborne and her family over five years. The gifts and benefits included cash wired to Claiborne’s USAA account, Chinese New Year’s gifts, international travel and vacations, tuition at a Chinese fashion school, a fully furnished apartment, and a monthly stipend. Some of these gifts and benefits were provided directly to Claiborne, while others were provided through a co-conspirator.

In exchange for these gifts and benefits, Claiborne provided copies of internal documents from the Department of State on topics ranging from economics to visits by dignitaries between the two countries.

Claiborne noted in her journal that she could “Generate 20k in 1 year” working with one of the PRC agents, who tasked her with providing internal U.S. Government analyses on a U.S.-Sino Strategic Economic Dialogue that had just concluded.

Claiborne, who confided to a co-conspirator that the PRC agents were “spies,” willfully misled State Department background investigators and FBI investigators about her contacts with those agents, the plea documents state.  After the State Department and FBI investigators contacted her, Claiborne also instructed her co-conspirators to delete evidence connecting her to the PRC agents.

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GFM: A Few Words From Some Campaign Supporters

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Update via GFM:
We’re getting close to our goal but we’re not there yet. Do we bring out the fireworks or do we bring out the rum? Opps … rum could be subject to tariffs starting September 1.
To the 495 people who came out to support the campaign this last couple of months, thank you. To blog friends who have been tireless in reminding their circles to support our campaign, thank you. Since 2015, you all have made this blog’s continued existence possible.

 

Below are some of the notes we’ve received from our campaign supporters. We appreciate your taking the time to tell us what the blog means to you. Not surprisingly, these made our eyes water but we got boxes of Kleenex!

 

 

 

“I have family at State and I enjoy the posts.”

“This is my second donation to help reach the goal. Keep shining a light on the truth Diplopundit.”

“I see you are getting close, but just in case this is the end, I want you to know how much I appreciate everything you’ve done to keep us all informed. Your work to get a FAM section on sexual assault, all the OIG reports, and all with just enough snark – thank you!”

“Proud repeat supporter who relies on you to keep an eye on things.”

“Can’t be without your insightful commentary and passing on little publicized DoS happenings.”

“I donated because I think you’re performing a valuable service. Thank you!”

“I’ve been following Diplopundit for years and value the diverse coverage of all things State Department.”

“Someone needs to hold our leaders accountable.”

“In an era when our civil liberties and free speech and dissent of all kind is being maligned and suppressed, this blogger has done a great job of getting important, useful info to us.”

“My colleagues need the information and support you provide. Thanks!”

“Diplopundit is the best way to follow what’s going on at State – and DS has a great sense of humor!”

“I read the blog obsessively.”

“I donated because, although I don’t read your blog regularly, it’s important.”

“You have been a voice for many who don’t feel they have a voice.”

“In the field and at home you provide the information, good and bad, we need on the institution we are a part of. Keep up the great work!”

“Diplopundit does the deep dive I wish I had time for.”

“Been reading you for years. Thank you.”

“Don’t give up the ship!”

“Diplopundit addresses real impactful issues that are often swept under the rug by Main State”

“You write the things I can’t.”

“I donated because I’ve been following and donating. As a retired FS Specialist I am interested in keeping current on the events in the Department of State that you report on.”

“Your blog is keeping me sane.”

“I’m retiring from the FS … Diplopundit has always been there for me with the anti-swagger attitude we need to do our jobs effectively. Thanks for serving us all these years and hope there’s some way your brilliance can continue to delight us.”

“Diplopundit shares what’s going on in the Department of State, unlike the Department itself.”

“I donated because your blog is indispensable in these desperate times!”

“Diplopundit provides insights into Foreign Service life that I don’t find elsewhere. And I appreciate its sharp, yet humorous tone.”

“Love diplopundit! No one else reports on (and refutes/confirms) the rumint that can affect our careers. You help people in the institution learn more about those we serve and each other. Invaluable!”

“This is a unique and vital voice in our world.”

 

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