A Small Post in Africa Just Fired “Several Dozen Male Employees”

We received the following in our inbox recently:

The Embassy held a town hall and finally disclosed that several dozen male employees had been separated from employment.

Charges included:

— improper used of government computers

— immoral conduct for posting obscene images and videos to a social media chat group

Criminal investigation is ongoing.

TDY staff have been flown in from other AF posts, NEA and Washington DC.

Outgoing ambassador departs soon; incoming ambassador to arrive in February.

Most of the job vacancies should be listed on the Embassy website in the coming weeks.

So this is a small post.  Since most jobs are expected to be advertised on the embassy website, we can assume that those separated from employment were locally hired staffers. “Several” means more than two and fewer than many.
Let’s say we have about a hundred employees at this post, with half of those male. Several dozens, say three dozens would be 36 employees. If four dozens, that would be the entire male population, half of the locally hired staff, wouldn’t it?
How would embassies ever find out what shenanigans are going on in their computer systems?
Information Systems Security Officers (ISSO) are responsible for implementing the Department’s information systems security program and for working closely with system managers on compliance with information systems security standards. The Bureau of Information Resource Management’s Office of ISSO Oversight, Regional, and Domestic Division, assists, supports, and coordinates the activities of domestic and overseas ISSOs.
In 2017, OIG inspection reports have repeatedly found deficiencies in the performance of ISSO duties. The Management Assistance Report then notes the following:

OIG reviewed information management findings in reports of overseas inspections conducted from fall FY 2014 to spring FY 2016 and found that 33 percent (17 out of 51) reported findings on the non-performance of ISSO duties. Specifically, the reports noted that information management personnel failed to perform regular reviews and analyses of information systems audits logs, user libraries, emails, workstations, servers, and hard drives for indications of inappropriate or unusual activity in accordance with Department standards.

But what if this post was previously:
— informed in 2019 that its unclassified and classified Information Systems Security Officers (ISSO) did not perform all information systems security duties, such as review and analysis of information systems audit logs for inappropriate or unusual activity, as required by 12 FAM 613.4?
— informed that its ISSOs did not brief new employees on their information security responsibilities and the Department’s policies? OIG notes that ISSO briefings are particularly important for LE staff who have never worked for the U.S. Government.
— informed that its ISSOs did not use the Department’s ISSO resources, such as standard operating procedures and checklists, to prioritize and plan their duties?
— made aware that a lack of planning and training as well as competing priorities led the embassy to neglect these duties and this has resulted in the security of the Department’s computer systems at risk?
Who should then be held accountable for this incident?
Or.
Perhaps, it took the embassy this long to finally conduct a systems audit logs and other systems security duties as required, and that’s how they found out about these obscene images?
Who should get an award?
Makes one wonder about that 17 posts who were reported for non-performance of ISSO duties.
What might they find there when they finally do perform those duties?

 

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US Amb. to Ethiopia Geeta Pasi to Retire, Amb. Tracey Ann Jacobson to be CDA

 

The State Department just announced that the US Ambassador to Ethiopia Geeta Pasi “plans to retire to pursue other opportunities.” Foggy Bottom has appointed Ambassador Tracey Ann Jacobson, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Career Minister, to serve as Chargé d’Affaires, ad interim, at the Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Ambassador Pasi was nominated ambassador in June 2020. She was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on December 22, 2020.
The official statement says “The Department of State expresses its great appreciation to Ambassador Pasi, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Career Minister, for her distinguished public service in advancing the values and interests of the United States around the globe, a career marked by three ambassadorial assignments and senior State Department leadership positions in Washington, D.C. We are particularly grateful for her stewardship of Embassy Addis Ababa during an exceptionally complex period.”
Ambassador Jacobson retired from the State Department in 2017. She was most recently appointed as Afghanistan Task Force Director in July 2021 during the Department’s Operation Allies Refuge.

 

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Updated 2/10/22

U.S. Embassy Ouagadougou Closes on 1/24 Due to Ongoing Security Concerns

On Monday, January 24, the US Embassy in Burkina Faso announced that it closed due to “the uncertainty of ongoing security concerns throughout Ouagadougou.”  American citizens in Burkina Faso were advised to monitor all methods of communication, including media reporting/sources and to contact the Embassy at (226) 25 49 53 00 if assistance is needed.  US citizens were also advised to take shelter and avoid large crowds, limit movement to emergencies and monitor local media for updates.

 

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@AsstSecStateAF Molly Phee and Special Envoy David Satterfield Visit Riyadh, Khartoum, Addis

 

Ambassador Lucy Tamlyn to be Chargé d’Affaires at US Embassy Khartoum

 

 

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First Extradition From Cameroon to US: Fugitive to Serve an 80-Year Prison Sentence

 

Via USDOJ:

In the first extradition from the Republic of Cameroon to the United States, a Texas man was extradited to Houston on Friday to serve an 80-year prison sentence he received in absentia four years ago after he pleaded guilty in two separate cases to conspiracy, health care fraud, money laundering, and tax offenses.

According to court documents, in November 2016, Ebong Aloysius Tilong, 57, of Sugar Land, Texas, and his wife, Marie Neba, went to trial on the conspiracy, health care fraud, and money laundering charges. The trial evidence and court documents showed that between 2006 and 2015, Tilong, Neba, and their co-conspirators used Tilong and Neba’s company, Fiango Home Healthcare Inc. (Fiango), to corruptly obtain more than $13 million by submitting false and fraudulent claims to Medicare for home health care services that Fiango’s patients did not need or receive. The trial evidence and court documents also showed that Tilong and Neba paid illegal kickbacks to patient recruiters to refer patients to Fiango, and that Tilong falsified and directed others to falsify medical records to make it appear as though Fiango’s patients met the Medicare qualifications for home health care. Additional evidence demonstrated that Tilong attempted to destroy evidence and blackmail and suborn perjury from witnesses. After the first week of trial, Tilong pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, three counts of health care fraud, one count of conspiracy to pay and receive health care kickbacks, three counts of payment and receipt of health care kickbacks, and one count of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments.

In June 2017, Tilong pleaded guilty in a separate case to two counts of filing fraudulent tax returns. In connection with this guilty plea, Tilong admitted that he created a shell company called Quality Therapy Services (QTS) to limit the amount of tax that he paid to the IRS on the proceeds that he and his co-conspirators stole from Medicare. According to Tilong’s plea agreement, in 2013 and 2014, Tilong wrote almost $1 million in checks from Fiango to QTS for physical-therapy services that QTS never provided to Fiango’s patients and deducted as business expenses. Tilong admitted that his tax fraud scheme caused the IRS a tax loss of approximately $344,452.

In August 2017, Neba was sentenced to 75 years in prison the Medicare fraud scheme at Fiango. The U.S. District Court scheduled Tilong’s sentencing for Oct. 13, 2017, but court records show that on the morning of his sentencing hearing, Tilong removed an ankle bracelet monitoring his location and failed to respond to phone calls from, or appear in, the U.S. District Court for his sentencing. On Dec. 8, 2017, the U.S. District Court sentenced Tilong in absentia to 80 years in prison for his role in the Medicare and tax fraud schemes.
[…]

In September 2021, the Republic of Cameroon President Paul Biya signed a decree ordering Tilong’s removal to the United States.

On Dec. 10, 2021, U.S. Marshals escorted Tilong from Cameroon to the United States.

The United States is grateful to the Government of Cameroon for its cooperation and support of this extradition request.

Read more:

Around the World in Tweets: Assistant Secretaries

 

 

US Embassy Ethiopia Urges U.S. Citizens to Depart Now Using Commercial Air

 

On November 21, the US Embassy in Addis Ababa sent another Security Message alerting U.S. citizens of the availability of commercial flights out of the country and urging their departure from Ethiopia.
“The security situation in Ethiopia continues to deteriorate.  The U.S. Embassy urges U.S citizens in Ethiopia to depart now using commercially available options. Although the Embassy continues to process emergency passports and repatriation loans, and to provide other emergency services, the Embassy is unlikely to be able to assist U.S. citizens in Ethiopia with departure if commercial options become unavailable. Please see information on What the Department of State Can and Can’t Do in a Crisis.
U.S. citizens wishing to depart Ethiopia, currently have multiple options via commercial flights from Bole International Airport. If you have difficulty securing a flight or need assistance to return to the United States, please contact AddisACS@state.gov for guidance. The Embassy can also provide a repatriation loan for U.S. citizens who cannot afford at this time to purchase a commercial ticket to the United States. If you are a U.S. citizen and delaying your departure because your non-U.S. citizen spouse or minor children do not have immigrant visas or U.S. passports, please contact us immediately.  Similarly, if you are a non-U.S. citizen parent of a U.S. citizen minor but do not have a valid U.S. visa or other document valid for entry to the United States, please contact us.”
The Level 4-Do Not Travel Advisory released on November 6 notes that “The Department of State urges U.S citizens in Ethiopia to depart now using commercially available options. The U.S. Embassy is unlikely to be able to assist U.S. citizens in Ethiopia with departure if commercial options become unavailable. Although seats on commercial flights currently remain available, we cannot predict when demand will exceed capacity. Please see information on What the Department of State Can and Can’t Do in a Crisis.”
The Department’s What the Department of State Can and Can’t Do in a Crisis” is helpful to U.S. citizens but does not include information on the almost non-existence assistance available to “green card” holders (legal permanent residents) and potential difficulties related to dual nationals.
If U.S. “green card” holders or U.S. permanent residents are arrested overseas (a potential reality given the reported targeted detentions of individuals), 7 FAM 400 on arrest and detention notes specifically that consular officers “do not have the right to demand consular access and visitation for U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident Aliens (LPRs)” overseas. It adds that LPRs (who are not U.S. citizens) must “turn to the country of their nationality or citizenship to request and receive consular services.”
Also see 7 FAM 416.37 FAM 416.3-1  Dual National Arrestees In The Non-U.S. Country Of Nationality. “It is a generally recognized rule, often regarded as a rule of international law, that when a person who is a dual national is residing in either of the countries of nationality, the person owes paramount allegiance to that country, and that country has the right to assert its claim without interference from the other country.  Thus, in the absence of agreements to the contrary between the United States and the country of second nationality, if a dual national encounters difficulties in the country of the second nationality while residing there, the U.S. government’s representations on that person’s behalf may or may not be accepted.”
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