We received the following from Sender A, writing anonymously “I would happily critique or call out any regional or functional bureau in the Department of State under my true name, but I do not believe it would be safe to do the same in this case.” The writer says he/she had over 30 years of experience with the State Department, with almost all overseas service at differential posts. Service in Washington, D.C. included top ranking positions at more than one bureau. –D
~ * * * ~
Warrior Culture, Militarization, and Diplomatic Security
I’m puzzled that, with all the attention being paid to policing and law enforcement reform in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, no one seems to have instigated any scrutiny of the policies and practices of Diplomatic Security. Watching the heavily armed, camouflage clad federal officers operating in Portland certainly demonstrated that federal law enforcement in general has become significantly militarized; the same is true, in my experience of DS. Given the shortfall in consular revenue and the likely upcoming budget impact of coronavirus, it seems to me that a genuine cost/benefit analysis of Diplomatic Security and its practices is overdue. My hope is to start this discussion.
As a retiree and former Chief of Mission, I’ve observed with dismay for many years the militarization of diplomatic security and the proliferation of “security theater” by which I mean practices don’t actually make us safer but make the practitioners feel more powerful. At my COM post, with a new secure chancery in a low threat country, the entry procedure for visitors (including mine) was so onerous that most contacts were unwilling to meet with me in my office. They invariably preferred to meet in restaurants, which tells you something about the real level of threat. Despite three years of trying, I was unable to make much of a dent in this. I also saw a lot of security theater during tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. The emphasis on weapons (the heavier the better), vehicles, and security technology often outweighed any reliance on cultural or political understanding and mostly served to keep very expensive American employees hunkered down inside US facilities.
The militarization of the State Department, while most acute in DS, is not confined thereto. It reached a peak during the GW Bush presidency, when Sec. Rice constantly exhorted us to become “expeditionary.” While the warrior diplomat model seems to have waned, especially in light of the limited and often short-lived results of the Provincial Reconstruction Team experiment (gains accomplished at great risk and high cost in lives), the warrior ethos remains strong in DS.
Consider also the 20-story DS headquarters building in Rosslyn, that was built and kitted out mostly with antiterrorism funds (or so I was told). What really goes on there that is not duplicative of work already done elsewhere, (e.g., intelligence analysis)? At my last security clearance update, I was surprised to learn from the investigator (who worked out of his car!) that DS contracts out virtually 100% of clearance investigations, including new hires.
Then there’s the new training center, far away from Washington, about 60 miles SW of Richmond Virginia. I am baffled that the Department’s leadership allowed DS to slip the net and take their training so far away, apparently with no oversight. How will DS employees be integrated into the work of the Department when they have no interaction with the rest of us in training. Who will even know what is contained in DS curriculum. Why isn’t DS training at least structurally under the Foreign Service Institute, as is the training for (as far as I know) every other speciality.
I’m old enough to remember DS before its employees became law enforcement special agents, when they focused on soft skills, contacts, and interpersonal skills to solve problems, and when DS employees occasionally served tours outside DS which enhanced their understanding of other functions of the mission. I don’t miss everything about the “olden days,” especially not the derelict buildings that housed many of our missions, but I do believe that something was lost. Setbacks and blast resistant buildings aside, I’m not convinced that we’re that much safer with current security practice.
I acknowledge the many sacrifices that DS agents and other employees have made to keep Embassies, consulates and employees safe, and I’ve respected and liked many DS agents with whom I’ve worked. This letter is about leadership, risk management, which we claim we practice, and most of all about organizational culture. I’ve read with interest a number of past Diplopundit items about DS’s response to sexual harassment, sexual assault, and complaints from female agents about the work environment and believe that many of these problems have their roots in warrior culture as well.
On July 23, 2020, the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced that it has informed the United States that it withdrew “its consent for the establishment and operation of the U.S. Consulate General in Chengdu.” The announcement only says that “The Ministry also made specific requirements on the ceasing of all operations and events by the Consulate General” but did not indicate a time window. Reports on the ordered closure of the Chinese Consulate in Houston notes that the US asked that the consulate stop events and move employees out by Friday, July 24. (see China Says US Ordered Closure of Its Houston Consulate By July 24).
Update 1:25 am PDT: WSJ is reporting that China is giving the U.S. 72 hours to close the Chengdu consulate. American diplomats in Chengdu have 30 days to leave China.
The US Consulate General Chengdu’s consular district is made up of the Provinces of Sichuan, Yunnan, and Guizhou, as well as the Tibet Autonomous Region and Chongqing City Municipality.
Via US Mission China:
The U.S. Consulate General in Chengdu was established in 1985 and was originally located on the first floor of the west wing of the Jinjiang Hotel. The Consulate started with only six American officers and approximately 20 local employees. It was made up of an Executive Office (a Consul General and administrative assistant); a small office handling political, economic and commercial issues; a Consular Section; a Management Section and what was then known as the U.S. Information Service.
In 1985, each of the offices was covered by one American officer. The Consulate today has grown tremendously by comparison, with almost 200 total staff. Approximately 150 of these are locally hired professional Chinese staff who are the heart of our daily operations and many of whom have served for many years.
Beijing set a 72-hr limit for the US consulate in Chengdu to shut down—the same amount of time Washington gave for the closure of China's consulate in Houston—and US diplomats at the Chengdu consulate were given 30 days to leave China, sources say. https://t.co/68BpZPZvMW
— Chun Han Wong 王春翰 (@ByChunHan) July 24, 2020
China just informed the #US side of its decision to withdraw its consent for the establishment & operation of US Consulate General in Chengdu. The US Consulate General in Chengdu must cease all operations & events as required. 🔗https://t.co/jxYJ86OG0B
— Hua Chunying 华春莹 (@SpokespersonCHN) July 24, 2020
CCTV has put up a live Weibo feed of the U.S. consulate in Chengdu, Sichuan after China’s foreign ministry announced it ordered the consulate closed. Complemented with dramatic, pulsing audio that loops over and over. Check it out. @CBSNews is here. 🇨🇳 https://t.co/1J2KCMxk38
— Ramy Inocencio 英若明 (@RamyInocencio) July 24, 2020
China has ordered the United States to close its consulate in the western city of Chengdu in an increasingly rancorous diplomatic conflict. The order followed the U.S. closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston. https://t.co/dAHzfo9AjI
— The Associated Press (@AP) July 24, 2020
Breaking News: China said that the American Consulate in Chengdu would be shut, moving to retaliate for the U.S. order to close the Chinese Consulate in Houston https://t.co/FNQs8TlAMI
— The New York Times (@nytimes) July 24, 2020
The US has made some preparations for withdrawal from Consulate General in Wuhan. Washington must hope that China will retaliate by closing this consulate, which is a small price for the US. I think China's target will be more likely unexpected, causing the US to feel real pain. pic.twitter.com/aDib4DXzDU
— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) July 22, 2020
US consulate in Chengdu prime target for China retaliation over Houston https://t.co/w35q3VeFJW
— Chungyan Chow (@ChungyanChow) July 23, 2020
The head of the Chinese Consulate in Houston won’t commit to closing the office — a direct threat of defiance to the State Department’s demand that it be shut down by Fridayhttps://t.co/cQifxjgWrO
— POLITICO (@politico) July 23, 2020
U.S. Embassy Brasilia, Brazil
As President Bolsonaro waits for his covid test results, the U.S. Embassy in Brazil says the Ambassador Todd Chapman does not show any symptoms, but he is taking the necessary precautions and will be tested.
They had lunch together for the July 4 celebration. No one wore a mask. pic.twitter.com/v1nngHBdr4
— Raquel Krähenbühl (@Rkrahenbuhl) July 7, 2020
U.S. Embassy Prague, Czech Republic
It was a pleasure to invite Czechs to my residence yesterday evening to celebrate July 4th.
— Ambassador King (@USAmbPrague) July 1, 2020
U.S. Embassy Bangkok, Thailand
On July 3 and 4, Ambassador Michael George DeSombre welcomed distinguished guests to celebrate the 244th anniversary of the Independence of the United States of America and the 164th anniversary of the U.S. Mission in Thailand. #FriendsPartnersAllies pic.twitter.com/JRBnjVgnNc
— Ambassador Michael G. DeSombre (@USAmbThailand) July 5, 2020
U.S. Embassy Belgrade, Serbia
Počastvovan sam prilikom da ugostim @predsednikRS i ministre @SerbianGov u okviru skromnog skupa organizovanog povodom predstojećeg #IndependenceDay. Glavnu proslavu planiramo sa vama u subotu u 11 sati ujutro. Svi ste pozvani na našu virtuelnu žurku https://t.co/4yU8OLPHgG 🇺🇸 🇷🇸 pic.twitter.com/Kebqx2DlGT
— Ambassador Anthony Godfrey (@usambserbia) July 2, 2020
U.S. Embassy Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Honored to celebrate American Independence Day with partners & friends in #SiemReap who contribute to longstanding, dynamic #People2People ties between the United States & #Cambodia. What a thrill to hold our event @PhareCircus! #AmCam70 pic.twitter.com/HeG4UghTq3
— Ambassador W. Patrick Murphy (@USAmbCambodia) July 1, 2020
U.S. Embassy The Hague, The Netherlands
With our annual July 4th event scrubbed by #COVID, we headed to Eindhoven and Volkel airbases and kicked off our holiday weekend with some amazing, dedicated Dutch & US servicemembers. What an honor to share the most American of holidays with some #EchteVrienden pic.twitter.com/CBZPSbMSDm
— Ambassador Pete Hoekstra (@usambnl) July 3, 2020
U.S. Embassy Seoul, South Korea
Celebrated USA’s Independence with ROK & other friends at Habib House today. Followed COVID guidelines. We honored the principles of freedom & liberty upon which USA is founded. Fab music by 8th U.S. Army jazz band. Wishing all Americans a happy & safe #FourthOfJuly! pic.twitter.com/brtTIrLNSr
— Harry Harris (@USAmbROK) July 2, 2020
U.S. Embassy Athens, Greece
I regret that Mary & I are not hosting you this year for #July4thGreece, but in keeping w/Greece’s successful #COVID19 measures, we went virtual w/this video including some of those who helped us reach this historic high in US-Greece relations. Thank you! https://t.co/kX0GUmvJR1
— Geoffrey Pyatt (@USAmbPyatt) July 3, 2020
U.S. Embassy Singapore, Singapore
— U.S. Embassy Singapore (@RedWhiteBlueDot) July 2, 2020
U.S. Embassy Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
1/ This year, the U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur @usembassykl is celebrating U.S. Independence Day through a special cultural diplomacy collaboration featuring musicians from the U.S. and Malaysia 🇺🇸🇲🇾.
— U.S. Embassy KL (@usembassykl) July 3, 2020
US Embassy Kabul, Afghanistan
(Same stock photo used by US Embassy Prague, attributed here to Getty Images).
On the #4thofJuly Americans celebrate our national day. We are a diverse people who hail from every corner of the globe striving to realize our country's promise of freedom, equality, and democracy. To find out from where we come, go to: https://t.co/d5zffjGEhl. pic.twitter.com/j0p5BHRcyF
— U.S. Embassy Kabul (@USEmbassyKabul) July 1, 2020
U.S. Embassy Banjul, The Gambia
As part of celebrating our Virtual Block Party for the #July4th, Embassy Banjul is delivering US branded cakes to selected contacts. Amb. Paschall delivered the first @KJcupcakess cake to State House, this morning, in appreciation of the good ties between the US & The Gambia. pic.twitter.com/QFFP2gL8XO
— U.S. Embassy Banjul (@USEmbassyBanjul) July 2, 2020
U.S. Embassy London, UK
Today our Deputy Chief of Mission & volunteers from @_ProjectWingman visited @RoyalLondonHosp to deliver some 🇺🇸 snacks to thank the hard-working front line staff at the Hospital as part of our #July4th celebrations this year. pic.twitter.com/xd0bf3xqTQ
— U.S. Embassy London (@USAinUK) July 2, 2020
U.S. Consulate Thessaloniki, Greece
#CGPfleger: #July4thGreece is a time to reflect on the many gifts we have & share some of them with others. Our #USMission community is happy to help the soup kitchen of the @ierosnaosmetamorfoseos with packaged meals for the community. pic.twitter.com/cNkiWytiKl
— US Consulate Thess (@USConsulateThes) July 2, 2020
U.S. Embassy Kolonia, Micronesia
AMB Carmen G. Cantor and U.S. Embassy Kolonia staff kicked off the 4th of July week by cleaning the causeway with two of the winners of the virtual essay contest: Erlickson Jano, 1st Place, Isabella Sipos, 2nd Place, and Sophia Bacalando, 3rd Place. 🇺🇸🇫🇲 #FourthofJulyWeek pic.twitter.com/LnBZoiBtij
— U.S. Embassy Kolonia (@USEmbassyFSM) June 30, 2020
U.S. Consulate Calgary, Canada
For our final July 4th recipe, we teamed up w/ Mike Klassen in #yyc to serve up some authentic Texas BBQ, using Certified Angus Beef! West Texas barbecue is often called ‘cowboy barbeque’ because it’s cooked over open fire and birthed from the day of cattle drives & trail blazing pic.twitter.com/BMGnzwGP3e
— U.S. Consulate Calgary (@usconscalgary) July 4, 2020
U.S. Embassy Managua, Nicaragua
Día de la Independencia de los Estados Unidos
¡Celebra con nosotros!
Una pequeña muestra de lo que les espera
Julio 3 a las 4 pm
En nuestra página de Facebook: https://t.co/FXaPW03Ci9#EstamosUnidos #4thofJuly #AmericanCultureatHome #QuedateEnCasa pic.twitter.com/Xm0FjJmDvf
— USEmbassy Nicaragua (@USEmbNicaragua) July 2, 2020
U.S. Embassy Lusaka, Zambia
— U.S. Embassy Zambia (@usembassyzambia) July 2, 2020
U.S. Mission Italy
Quest'anno a Villa Taverna celebreremo in modo speciale la Festa dell'Indipendenza Americana. 🇺🇸🎉🍔
Il 4 luglio alle 19 un evento online unico, con ospiti eccezionali per festeggiare il #4lugliousa nel nome dell'amicizia tra Italia e Stati Uniti!
— Ambasciata U.S.A. (@AmbasciataUSA) July 2, 2020
U.S. Embassy Antananarivo, Madagascar
🇺🇸🎉#July4th Aza adinoina fa amin’ny Sabotsy 4 Jolay amin’ny 2 tolakandro ny fandefasana mivantana eto amin’ny pejy Facebook “U.S. Embassy Madagascar” ny fankalazana ny 244 taonan’ny Fahaleovatenan’i Etazonia. Azonao alefa dieny izao ny firariantsoanao 🎉 #IndependenceDay pic.twitter.com/hfC7wrzZ3m
— U.S. Embassy Madagascar (@USMadagascar) July 2, 2020
U.S. Consulate Milan, Italy
A partire da questa sera, il Consolato Generale degli Stati Uniti a Milano si unisce a milioni di americani che si preparano a celebrare #independenceday2020 illuminando con la bandiera degli Stati Uniti lo storico palazzo che ospita il nostro consolato. Venite a trovarci! pic.twitter.com/axlU0XqiUM
— US Consulate Milan (@USConsMilan) July 1, 2020
U.S. Embassy Podgorica, Montenegro
🇺🇸 marks its 244th Independence Day tomorrow!
We are starting by projecting the American flag on our Embassy building. pic.twitter.com/6tNi7JyQIu
— US Embassy Podgorica (@USEmbassyMNE) July 3, 2020
U.S. Embassy Mexico City, Mexico
TO AMERICAN CITIZENS ON JULY 4TH WEEKEND: this July 4th is like no other. The Coronavirus is spreading. Crossing borders will spread it faster. Be a patriot, protect your health and family. Stay home. Social distance. Don’t spread the virus. https://t.co/U5YwBCLSn7
— Embajada EU en Mex (@USEmbassyMEX) July 2, 2020
U.S. Consulate General Toronto, Canada
🇺🇸 #AmCits in Ontario! Celebrate democracy this 4th of July by taking the necessary steps to vote in the 2020 U.S. elections! See the following thread to learn more: ⬇️ #July4th #Vote2020 pic.twitter.com/jHxAJO2Xvf
— US Consulate Toronto🇺🇸🇨🇦 (@usconstoronto) July 3, 2020
Updated/1:35 pm PDT
Authorized departure is an evacuation procedure, short of ordered departure, by which post employees and/or eligible family members are permitted to leave post in advance of normal rotation when U.S. national interests or imminent threat to life requires it. Authorized departure is voluntary, requested by the chief of mission (COM) and approved by the Under Secretary for Management (M). The incumbent to this office is Brian Bulatao.
Ordered departure is an evacuation procedure by which the number of U.S. government employees, eligible family members, or both, at a Foreign Service post is reduced. Ordered departure is mandatory and may be initiated by the chief of mission or the Secretary of State.
Posts with very few exceptions, report to their regional or geographic bureaus headed respectively by an Assistant Secretary, a Senate confirmed position. Four of the seven regional bureaus at State are headed by officials in their acting capacity (EUR, SCA, WHA, IO).
We’ve heard from one post in Africa where COM was apparently told by a senior State Department official that non-emergency personnel should leave with the authorized departure flight or be involuntarily curtailed from post.
Can you still call a voluntary evacuation voluntary if non-emergency personnel are under threat of curtailments if they don’t go? Is this unique to this one post or is the arm twisting more widespread within AF posts or other bureaus.
Another post in Africa told us that its COM has raised the possibility of involuntary curtailment if folks don’t want to depart on AD but that this was COM’s idea not Washington’s. One source explained that from a post perspective, you do not want to go on OD because “you lose control.” This is probably a limited perspective based on the circumstances of specific posts. Or is it?
What about from the mothership’s perspective? To OD post or not to OD? Why, or why not?
We were told that the “challenge” with “ordered departures” is that Washington is “involved in micromanaging” the termination of the OD but also with the staffing/movement of personnel. Every time post permits anyone to return to post for any reason, the mothership has to review it. Our source told us that the amount of time to review every tweak and revision of staffing would probably be considerable even if just half the posts worldwide are on OD.
We note that per 3 FAM 3774 “official travel to a post or country where an authorized or ordered departure is in effect is prohibited without the formal approval of the Under Secretary for Management (M) following approval of a post policy that clearly describes appropriate restrictions and limits exceptions, in accordance with the procedures described under Waivers of Travel Prohibitions (3 FAM 3776).” Excerpt:
b. In limited circumstances, M may delegate to the COM the authority to approve travel to and from a post under authorized departure (including travel related to rest and recuperation (R&R), home leave, annual leave, etc.) for permanently assigned employees, family members, and MOHs who do not elect authorized departure status. M also may delegate to the COM, in limited circumstances, the authority to approve travel to post for employees who were away from post when ordered departure was approved.
c. In situations in which the Under Secretary for Management (M) has not delegated authority to the COM, waiver requests will be forwarded to the regional bureau executive director for review and a recommendation for approval or denial. If approved in principle by the regional bureau, the request will be forwarded to the Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) for clearance and returned to the regional bureau executive director for submission to M. To provide time for the review and approval/denial process, travelers must allow a minimum of 20 working days following submission of requests to the Department for all but the most urgent medical or casualty-related travel. Given changing conditions in these locations, requests should not be submitted to the Department more than 35 days prior to the proposed departure date.
d. For posts where operations have been suspended or countries where the United States is engaged in contingency operations: Requests for a waiver of the prohibition on official and personal travel to a post or country where operations have been suspended or countries where the United States is engaged in contingency operations must be approved by the Under Secretary for Management, who may waive the prohibition in unusual or compelling circumstances. The request must be made initially to the regional bureau executive director for review and a recommendation for approval or denial. If approved in principle by the regional bureau, the request will be forwarded to the Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) for clearance and returned to the regional bureau executive director for submission to M. To provide time for the review and approval/denial process, travelers must allow a minimum of 20 working days following submission of requests to the Department for all but the most urgent medical or casualty-related travel. Given changing conditions in these locations, requests should not be submitted to the Department more than 35 days prior to the proposed departure date. Approvals for such travel can be revoked at any time by M and M can impose conditions on the traveler’s length of stay, whereabouts, and/or activities in country. The traveler must explain in detail where he/she will reside during his/her stay; unless approved by the Under Secretary for Management, no employee, family member, or member of household may reside in State Department leased or owned facilities while operations are suspended.
Anyhow, if you have further thoughts on this, drop us a line. Below is a revised evacuation tracker, no additional AD/OD posts since March 28 but we’ve now added the two post closures, the Consulates General in Wuhan and Vladivostok. Note updated date of post closure for Wuhan. We could not locate an announcement of post closure except as part of an update on the China Travel Advisory dated February 19, which may not be the actual date when USCG Wuhan was officially closed.
Also, please note that the term “non-essential” personnel has been generally replaced with the term “non-emergency” personnel. However, we still occasionally see this term used in official releases from overseas posts. Also as late as 2018, the Foreign Affairs Manual in its danger pay section still makes references to “non-essential” personnel.
From sickdips via Burn Bag:
“Members of the Embassy community at one post have fallen seriously ill with COVID-19 symptoms, but the State Department will not test them for COVID-19 or *MEDEVAC them. There is already limited medical capacity at many posts, which will be completely overwhelmed as the pandemic spreads. What is MED waiting for? Protecting our people should be our NUMBER ONE PRIORITY.”
*MEDEVAC – medical evacuation
** MED – State Department’s Bureau of Medical Services
AFSA has seen an increasing number of Foreign Service employees under investigation for possible misuse of their Diplomatic Passports (DPs). To ensure that our members understand the relevant rules for DPs, AFSA issues the following guidance.
DPs carry the same message from the Secretary of State as do any other passports, i.e. that their bearers be permitted “to pass without delay or hindrance” and be given “all lawful aid and protection.” However, they also announce that their bearers are abroad on diplomatic assignment with the U.S. government. While traveling abroad with such passports, DP holders not only have a special obligation to respect the laws of the country in which they are present, but they must abide by U.S. government and agency-specific standards of conduct.
In addition to reviewing the guidance below, we suggest all DP holders review the following material:
- 8 FAM 503.2, Travel with Special Issuance Passports (updated 6/27/2018)
- 18 STATE 6032, Proper Use of Special Issuance Passports (1/19/2018)
- 12 STATE 12866, Official and Diplomatic Passports – Notice to Bearers (2/11/2012)
- DPs may only be used while their holders are in positions which require such documents, i.e. during official business travel.
- A DP attests that the bearer is traveling on diplomatic/official business for the U.S. government or is an accompanying family member of such a person.
- DPs are authorized for any travel on government orders. For example, DPs may be used for R&R or medevac travel.
- TDY travel should be conducted with DPs and any required visas. DP holders are advised to check with the post in question regarding requirements for entry.
- DP holders should practice carrying both regular and diplomatic passports while on travel.
- DPs must be used when entering and exiting the holder’s country of assignment abroad and returning to the U.S. from the country of assignment. Regular (tourist) passports must be used for all personal travel.
- For all travel, we strongly advise carrying both diplomatic and regular passports and complying with instructions of local immigration authorities, even if those instructions are not necessarily in compliance with this guidance. If this or any other unusual situation occurs involving the use of diplomatic passports, please document the event for your records.
- U.S. diplomat assigned to Country A is taking a personal trip (tourist trip) with his/her family to Country B. The U.S. diplomat, and accompanying family members, must use the DPs for entering/exiting Country A. However, they must use their personal passports (“blue book”) for entering/exiting Country B. Whichever type of passport is used to enter a country must be used to exit that country.
- U.S. diplomat has completed his/her tour in Country A and is returning to the U.S. with his/her family. The U.S. diplomat and accompanying family members will use their DPs for leaving Country A and entering the U.S.
- U.S. diplomat assigned to Country A has an official meeting in Country B and then will travel to Country C for tourism. The U.S. diplomat must use the DP to exit Country A and enter and exit Country B. However, the diplomat must use his/her personal passport to enter and exit Country C. The DP will be used to re-enter Country A.
DPs Do Not:
- Confer diplomatic immunity.
- Exempt the bearer from foreign laws.
- Allow the bearer to carry classified or sensitive material across borders.
- Allow the bearer to avoid questions from foreign immigration or bypass security.
- Protect their holders from arrest, hazards of war, criminal violence, or terrorism.
- DPs may subject their bearers to increased scrutiny by foreign governments and other entities.
- Misuse of DPs may be investigated and prosecuted as a violation per 18 U.S.C. 1544.
- Employees who are found to have misused DPs may also be subject to disciplinary action.
- Many countries have visa requirements for DPs which exceed those for regular passports. Guidance can be found here: https://travel.state.gov/content/special-issuance-agency-home/en/spec-issuance-agency.html
- Taiwan: All travel to Taiwan by executive branch personnel must be with a regular passport. In addition, executive branch personnel who plan to travel to Taiwan for official purposes must have prior concurrence from the Office of Taiwan Coordination: (202) 647-7711.
More information can be found at the Special Issuance Agency page here.
We understand that the Department of State will issue its own guidance on this topic shortly.
— Ambassador Ken Howery (@USAmbSweden) November 8, 2019
2 days to go to credentialing! Ambassadors are transported from the @SweMFA to the Royal Palace in former King Karl XV's horse drawn parade coupe. Outriders lead the procession, followed by the coupe & its attendants. Read more here: https://t.co/7kZvWo8EM0 #WelcomeAmbHowery pic.twitter.com/RVt5q1036w
— US Embassy in Sweden (@usembassysweden) November 5, 2019
— US Embassy in Sweden (@usembassysweden) October 12, 2019
I am humbled and honored to have been formally sworn-in for my new role as U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Sweden. It is a great privilege to have this opportunity to serve and to begin work on behalf of both our great nations. @usembassysweden pic.twitter.com/Ln79qBk9tv
— Ken Howery (@KenHowery) October 21, 2019
It is no longer news when political donors end up with ambassadorships. We just did not know until today that political donors apparently are now also able to affect the removal or the recall of a career ambassador according to the indictment (see p.8) from the Southern District of New York. The SDNY alleged that these political donors sought assistance from “Congressman-1” in causing the U.S. Government to remove or recall the then U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine (that would be Marie Yovanovitch). The effort was conducted in part at the request of Ukrainian officials.
Congressman-1 has not been indicted nor identified in the indictment. SDNY said that investigations are ongoing.
The recall of Ambassador Yovanovich in May 2019 followed a persistent campaign for her removal among conservative media outlets in the United States. The State Department reportedly told RFE/RL on May 6, that Ambassador Yovanovitch “is concluding her 3-year diplomatic assignment in Kyiv in 2019 as planned.” And that “her confirmed departure date in May aligns with the presidential transition in Ukraine,” which elected a new president in April.
We now know that none of that is true. What other truth-sounding stuff are they telling us?
Those who are quick to point out that she was appointed United States Ambassador to Ukraine by President Obama, should know that Ambassador Yovanovitch was first appointed United States Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan by President George W. Bush. She was also appointed United States Ambassador to Armenia by President George W. Bush, but her tenure in Yerevan, as a career diplomat, spanned the Bush Administration and the Obama Administration (2008-2011). We’ve seen folks insists on calling her an Obama “holdover,” perhaps they’ll think otherwise if they realize that she was a Bush “holdover” before she became an Obama “holdover. Career people do tend to serve from one administration to the next.
We expect that we’ll hear more about this case in the days ahead. What is clear to us right now is if this could happen to Ambassador Yovanovitch who has over three decades of dedicated service, this could happen to anyone in the U.S. diplomatic service.
In 2018, "Parnas met with Congressman-1 and sought Congressman-1's assistance in causing the U.S. government to remove or recall the then-U.S. ambassadors to Ukraine." pic.twitter.com/70yQT28Dvg
— Matt Ford (@fordm) October 10, 2019
— Tom Benning (@tombenning) October 10, 2019
YESTERDAY: @lachlan reported that former Rep. Pete Sessions got $3m from this pro-Trump super PAC after he wrote a letter calling for the sacking of the Ukraine Amb. that Parnas, Fruman and Rudy wanted out. https://t.co/UkOBYS82tw https://t.co/3eghhgdmPO
— Sam Stein (@samstein) October 10, 2019
One potential disparity investigators may focus on: Sessions' statement attributes the info about Yovanovitch to "congressional colleagues." In his letter, he attributes it to "an interaction… with individuals" notifying him of concrete evidence from "close companions." pic.twitter.com/RvxFl5w1BZ
— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) October 10, 2019
- WSJ: Amb. Yovanovitch’s Removal, a Priority For Trump; Pompeo Supported the Move #championofdiplomacy Oct 4, 2019
- State/OIG Shares Documents With Congress on Misinformation About Amb. Yovanovitch Oct 3, 2019
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- Senate Confirmations: Promotion List – Senior FSOs to Class of Career Minister
(Applies to Foreign Service Employees)
a. Career members of the Service who have completed Presidential assignments under section 302(b) of the Act, and who have not been reassigned within 90 days after the termination of such assignment, plus any period of authorized leave, shall be retired as provided in section 813 of the Act. For purposes of this section, a reassignment includes the following:
(1) An assignment to an established position for a period of at least six months pursuant to the established assignments process (including an assignment that has been approved in principle by the appropriate assignments panel);
(2) Any assignment pursuant to section 503 of the Foreign Service Act of 1980, as amended;
(3) A detail (reimbursable or nonreimbursable) to another U.S. Government agency or to an international organization;
(4) A transfer to an international organization pursuant to 5 U.S.C. sections 3581 through 3584; or
(5) A pending recommendation to the President that the former appointee be nominated for a subsequent Presidential appointment to a specific position.
b. Except as provided for in paragraph c of this section, a reassignment does not include an assignment to a Department bureau in “overcomplement” status or to a designated “Y” tour position.
c. The Director General may determine that appointees who have medical conditions that require assignment to “medical overcomplement” status are reassigned for purposes of Section 813 of the Foreign Service Act.
d. To the maximum extent possible, former appointees who appear not likely to be reassigned and thus subject to mandatory retirement under section 813 of the Act will be so notified in writing by the Director General not later than 30 days prior to the expiration of the 90-day reassignment period.