From a red planet,
Absent our clear misfortunes
I quietly return.
Now, with heart filled with fresh tears,
Our Olympic Mons unfolds.

~ * ~

We’re coming back to blogging semi-regularly for the next few weeks. It is possible that the blog may transition into a subscription blog or newsletter in the future but we haven’t made that decision yet. We will continue to look for options on how to improve the blog’s sustainability. We will update you with changes as we know more. For now, the blog will continue as it has done in the past, although, we may focus more on the alphabet soup reports and the less covered parts of the big house. We also owe a bunch of you some response. We hope to get back to everyone within the next few days. Thank you! –DS









BlogNote: On hiatus as of Sept 1st, but please stay tuned

Over 500 supporters responded to Diplopundit’s GFM fundraising last year.  We reached our funding goal hours before our self-imposed deadline of August 5, 2019 and that allowed us to blog for a year. Our funds ran out this month.  So we’re back in our old cycle of anxiety about how to make ends meet for the remainder of the year and into next year. Asking for donations as you may already know is the least enjoyable part of running this blog.
We’ve tried various ways to keep this blog open since 2008. The fact is while we have over 11,000 subscribers, we have a more limited number of blog supporters who pitched in when we ask for help once a year. About 500 donors have kept this blog going year after year. An overwhelming majority of them, we hear from only once a year during our fundraising.
We did our first fundraising in 2014 with minimal success.  After that, we were closed to calling it quits but OneFSO, TwoFSO, and 373 donors made sure this blog made it to its 7th birthday in 2015.  They (and more) came back to help in 2016, 2017, and 2019 (2018 was a darn mess so we were in a hole that year).
You folks kept this blog alive and we remember, and are grateful.
This year, as we consider the blog’s future and our next adventure, you will clearly be in our thoughts.  This blog will be on hiatus for the month of September. There will be no updates for at least four weeks. Sometime in October, we hope to fly the blog again, perhaps in a different medium. But for now, your blogger will be off to Mars on a mental health break!
You can continue to reach us via this blog: and via email at contactblog[at]diplopundit[dot]net. Response may be slow for the next several weeks. Be kind to each other and stay healthy.

Update: We’ve received emails asking about a new fundraiser.  At this time, we do not anticipate launching a new fundraiser for the remainder of the year. Apologies for the confusion.

Rest In Peace, Tex


It is with great sadness that we report the passing of F. Allen “Tex” Harris last Monday, February 23, 2020.  He died at a hospital in Fairfax County, VA. He was 81 years old. We bear a  tremendous sense of emptiness in our hearts at his passing. Tex has been a friend and a tireless supporter of this blog. We are devastated by this sudden loss and extend our deepest sympathy to his family and friends.
Godspeed, Tex.
Buenos Aires Times  cited Argentina’s Foreign Ministry in paying tribute to Tex:
“The Argentine Government and its people deeply regret the death of former US diplomatic official Allen ‘Tex’ Harris, who played an essential role in denouncing the disappearances and violations of human rights during the last civic-military dictatorship,” the Ministry, headed by Felipe Solá, said in a statement.
“Tex Harris was assigned to Argentina from 1977 to 1979, during which time he opened the doors of the United States Embassy to relatives of the disappeared and tried to help them find their loved ones. During this period, he filed 13,500 complaints about serious human rights violations,” it continued, noting that Harris had been decorated with the Orden del Libertador San Martín by late president Néstor Kirchner in 2004.
Graciela Palacio de Lois who joined the Familiares de Desaparecidos y Detenidos por Razones Políticas (“Relatives of the Disappeared and Detained for Political Reasons”) after the dictatorship’s death squads had kidnapped her husband, Ricardo Lois, told the Buenos Aires Times, “He prevented me from being kidnapped by the dictatorship.”
Robert Cox, the Former editor of the Buenos Aires Herald (1968-1979) called Tex “the man who did the right thing.” In Buenos Aires Times, he writes, “We will never know how many lives ‘ Tex’ Harris saved by his decision to confront the radical evil of the 1976-1983 dictatorship. But I do know that Tex, then a newly arrived junior diplomat at the US Embassy, halted mass murder, simply by keeping a record of the people who were to be obliterated from existence under the military’s plan to wipe out subversion. It was an extraordinarily brave act of conscience and a supreme act of courage that almost cost Tex his career, while endangering his life and that of his wife Jeanie.”
In A Great American, Mario Del Carril writes “Over the years, I have had the opportunity to hear him reflect on his Argentine experience, saying he believed the human rights policy had not been effective. I believe he was wrong. True, it took four years to stop the killings, but this was in part due to vacillations and infighting. The policy had an impact in an area that is very important and often overlooked: it stopped the method of disappearances from becoming a new norm in the fight against terrorism. Some in the Argentine military government were proud of the methods they employed. It was considered a success, to be presented to the world as an achievement in warfare. A method that could be exported and taught. In the long run, this did not happen.”

Continue reading

Goodbye 2019: Our Top 10 Blog Posts of the Year


#USCIS Badly Written ‘Policy Alert’ on Citizenship Blows Up, Causes Wildfire

FCS Foreign Service Officer Lola Gulomova Killed By FSO Spouse in Apparent Murder-Suicide

Trump Threatens Retaliation Against Countries That Issue Travel Warnings For USA #GetReady

Sources: Major Personnel Cuts Coming For U.S. Mission Iraq

@StateDept Employee and Spouse Indicted for Trafficking in Counterfeit Goods from U.S. Embassy Seoul

State Department Official Patricia DeLaughter Pleads Guilty to Procurement Fraud

U.S. Embassy Gabon: State/OIG’s Ode to All Things Dreadful in a Small Post

Former DocuSign CEO Keith Krach to be Under Secretary of State  for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment (E)

Confirmations: Ambassadors, FS Lists, and @USAID Nominees

Foggy Bottom’s Top ‘Champion of Diplomacy’ to Step Up, or Maybe Not


Thank you! Some Fireworks to Share, Not Rum!



Our thanks and appreciation to 540 people who made this blog’s funding campaign a success! People even took time out from their weekend and turned out for the campaign! Some made second donations to help ensure that we get to where we want to be. We reached our funding goal hours before our self-imposed deadline of August 5. So sharing some fireworks (from Winfield House’s 2017 event), but not rum:-)!


As of this writing, the campaign has raised $41,432. GoFundMe deducted $1,364.02 in transaction fees, and left the campaign with $40,067.98 to withdraw. We won’t get the funds for a few more weeks but we are now funded from August 2019 to August 2020.
We are relieved we don’t have to worry about funding for the next 12 months, and at least for the moment, we are able to put the bag lady nightmare at bay. Thank you for making this possible!


GFM: A Few Words From Some Campaign Supporters

Help Fund the Blog |  Countdown: Less Than 24 Hours to Go



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.”



GFM Campaign Ends on August 5: It looks like we’re coming to the end of the line …

It looks like we’re coming to the end of the line. We’ve purposely limited the fundraising to a 60-day campaign because we don’t want to be distracted by raising funds for the rest of the year. We wanted to get it done and put it behind us. But our campaign is proceeding slowly and running out of time. It is likely that we may not reach our goal by August 5. So … such is life. Either 10,500 readers/subscribers/followers find the blog useful or they don’t.
For the 235 funders who came out to support the blog during this fundraising and during our previous efforts, we thank you. We are grateful for your continued support and your kind words. Below we are sharing some of the notes that we’ve received during this campaign. Sending love to all (no, I’m not crying, just something in my eyes).



“Diplopundit is a terrific blog that adds value consistently.”
“Thanks for covering the FS world. Not many places cover it with any context.”
“I find your blog informative and entertaining.”
“Please hang in there, you’re irreplaceable in this dire diplomatic age.”
“It’s the correct thing to support independent freedom of speech.”
“Accountability is important.”
“I enjoy updates. Avoid letting them get snarky.”
“Your independent coverage of news from the State Department is invaluable.”
“Diplopundit keeps us honest and is an indispensable service to public servants”
“The blog continues to report without opining or defaulting to partisan excuses.”
“I donated because it’s important to have accurate information at the appropriate time.”
“I believe in what blog is doing and I feel strongly about need for knowing all we can about what goes on at State. Sadly, these days, there’s not much good, if anything, to cite. All the more reason to watch closely. Huge mistakes are being made. No telling how repairs will be made…or if?”
“I’m a DOS retiree and live in total fear.”
“I donated because I’ve followed your blog for years.”
“You do a fantastic job of selecting and reporting on topics of particular and timely interest to the FS crowd.”
“Diplopundit is irreplaceable.”
“This is a fantastic blog.”
“It takes seven blind men to see an elephant.”
“I value what you do.”
“I love Diplopundit”
“Diplopundit matters, we on the inside can trust her to uphold the core values of the Department of State.”
“I read and enjoy your posts!”
“I value Diplopundit”
“Valuable, independent, below and inside the headlines.”
“I read Diplopundit.”
“You provide a useful service to the FS community. Keep up the good work.”
“I enjoy reading about the State Department.”
“Diplopundit continues to do a fantastic job providing informed and independent coverage of State Department, USAID goings on. And is the only such source. A rare light in a sea of otherwise darkness. We would feel the loss.”
“I donated because Diplopundit is informative, specially on issues not reported elsewhere.”
“I read the blog.”
“Diplopundit provides a valuable resource — unvarnished, honest discussion of Foggy Bottom goings on.”
“invaluable service over a long period of time”
“you shine a light on things that need lightin’ up.”
“… it’s totally the right thing to do. Gripe on!!!”
“Diplopundit is a must-read.”
“Please keep up the great work-Diplopundit shines a light where needed!”
“I value this blog.”
“I appreciate getting state Dept updates from this blog on important issues and happenings.”
“I love knowing what is really go on. It’s the anti-swagger.”
“Keeping up with State Department news is vital for the public. Blogging is 4th state in the 21st century and needs to be supported.”
“Keep up the good work.”
“Democracy dies in darkness.”
“Thank you for all the work you do! I’ve been reading your site since before I started A100 and I very much appreciate your honesty about foreign service and US policy.”
“You need to keep blogging.”
“I rely upon Diplopundit for honest news and appreciate their impartiality.”
“I’m retired FS, and your observations are spot on!”
“Diplopundit performs an invaluable and irreplaceable service.”
“These updates are more informative than Miles with Mike!”
“I enjoy your blog.”
“I value your updates and humor.”
“Appreciation for your good, long service as Diplopundit for all of us interested in your reporting on State Dept and foreign affairs.”



A Note to Readers

Help Fund the Blog | Diplopundit 2019 — 60-Day Campaign from June 5, 2019 – August 5, 2019



Diplopundit will not be updated for the next two weeks. Your blogger will be on the road with obligations that could not be put off, and also will have very limited to zero online access. Blogging is expected to resume around the third week of July. 

The GFM fundraising is chugging along. 183 campaign supporters in 26 days stopped by to pitch in. Thank you all, we appreciate every help! 

We’re not quite halfway to our funding goal and time clearly is gaining on us.  We’re looking at the rest of our subscribers to remember the blog and help, if their circumstances allow it.  Whether or not we will get to our goal by August 5 remains a cliffhanger.  Maybe we’re seeing the end of the line here, though the universe may still surprise us.  For now, be well, don’t start a war, and we’ll see you in a bit.

White Cat on Grass Field by Pixabay



Week 3/8 Funding Campaign: Top 10 All Time Hits

Help Fund the Blog | Diplopundit 2019 — 60-Day Campaign from June 5, 2019 – August 5, 2019



To the 115 donors who contributed generously for the first 14 days of this campaign, we are grateful for your support and thoughtfulness.

We’re starting the third week of an eight-week funding campaign. It could be good news at the beginning of August or it could be the start of our Goodbye Girl tour. There’s no certainty in a blog’s life. Unfortunately. If you follow the blog and wants us to stay around longer — even if we’re starting to grow a subtly mismatched eyebrows to become a female version of Andy Rooney — tag a couple of friends to help “she who must not be named’s” funding campaign. We realized that this is already the summer transfer season, and folks are busy and occupied, but hopefully, those friends would tag a couple more folks for help.

Below, we want to share our Top 10 All Time Hits (only covers the items posted since we moved to WordPress). We posted this on our campaign page but for some reason we could not insert links in the update function of GFM.

#1. US Citizen born in Puerto Rico detained as illegal immigrant, what was DHS/ICE thinking?
#2. Senate Bill to Slash Embassy Security Funds in Half Until US Embassy Jerusalem Officially Opens
#3. Indian Diplomat Devyani Khobragade Strip Search Video Is Fake – Here’s Proof
#4. IamA United States Diplomat: Anonymous FSO Gets on Reddit and He’s a Riot!
#5. Tom Countryman’s Farewell: A Diplomat’s Love Letter to America
#6. Raymond Maxwell: Former Deputy Asst Secretary Removed Over Benghazi Pens a Poem
#7. Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road? The Must-Read Embassy Edition
#8. Are #EFM positions literally about to become…extinct under #Tillerson’s watch?
#9. Top Hardship Assignments in the Foreign Service
#10. Inside @StateDept: Leaked Cable Provides Guidance For ‘America First’ Cost Savings Initiatives