KCNA on Pompeo via KCNAWatch: https://kcnawatch.org/newstream/1555606947-602022423/u-s-secretary-of-state-slammed/Meanwhile in DC:
Today Jared Kushner addressed Ambassadors at the Blair House pic.twitter.com/rcLqRgIuii
— Avi Berkowitz (@aviberkow45) April 17, 2019
Posted:1:22 pm EST
On February 7, Secretary Pompeo announced to State Department employees the appointment of Lea Gabrielle, a former Fox News correspondent and U.S. Navy vet to be Special Envoy and Coordinator of the Global Engagement Center (GEC). The State Department’s deputy spox also announced the appointment publicly. The Global Engagement Center is charged with leading the U.S. government’s efforts to counter propaganda and disinformation from international terrorist organizations and foreign countries. Its work is focused around four core areas: science and technology, interagency engagement, partner engagement, and content production.
Secretary’s Pompeo’s announcement says that “Lea’s background makes her an outstanding choice for this role. She is a former CIA-trained Human Intelligence Operations Officer, Defense Foreign Liaison Officer, U.S. Navy Program Director, Navy F/A-18C Fighter Pilot, andnational television news correspondent and anchor. She directed and conducted global clandestine strategic intelligence collection operations. She also deployed in tactical anti-terrorist operations in hostile environments with Naval Special Warfare (SEALs).”
Secretary Pompeo closes his announcement with “The fight against propaganda and disinformation is one we must win. Under Lea’s visionary leadership, America will be better protected from those who would turn hearts and minds against us.”
Pompeo also thanked the Acting-GEC Coordinator Daniel Kimmage “for his steady leadership the past two years.” Mr. Kimmage has been Acting Special Envoy and Coordinator for the Global Engagement Center at the Department of State since January 20, 2017. Before assuming his GEC role, he served in a number of State Department positions, including covering counterterrorism issues for the Office of Policy Planning and as the Principal Deputy Coordinator of the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications (CSCC). He also previously published reports on extremist media strategies including Iraqi Insurgent Media: The War of Images and Ideas, The Al-Qaeda Media Nexus, and Al-Qaeda Central and the Internet. Mr. Kimmage is fluent in Russian and Arabic.
The new GEC was previously the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications (CSCC), a stand-alone office reporting to the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs (R). It was expanded to include a new counter-ISIL cell to the Center’s operation. Following the departure of Ambassador Alberto Fernandez, who served from 2012-2015, the State Department appointed Rashad Hussain as Special Envoy and Coordinator for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications in February 2015. In January 2016, the State Department announced the appointment of Michael D. Lumpkin as Special Envoy and Coordinator of the Global Engagement Center to lead a new interagency effort that leverages the private sector and new data analytics tools to disrupt extremist violent propaganda.
.@StateDeputySpox: I am pleased to announce that Lea Gabrielle will be our new Special Envoy and Coordinator of the Global Engagement Center. Lea will provide the permanent leadership we have needed to bolster the GEC’s operations. pic.twitter.com/Pfer5QmNKM
— Department of State (@StateDept) February 7, 2019
Pleased to introduce Lea Gabrielle as the Special Envoy & Coordinator of the Global Engagement Center. As a former Intel Operations Officer, F-18 fighter pilot & TV correspondent, Lea will lead USG efforts against disinformation & those who would undermine our national security. pic.twitter.com/V0KNZ7a1GM
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) February 7, 2019
First in FP: State Dept taps former Fox News reporter Lea Gabrielle to lead counterpropaganda unit beset by funding and leadership problems. https://t.co/08kjBtsZ7Y
— Elias Groll (@EliasGroll) February 7, 2019
Former Fox News correspondent Lea Gabrielle to lead State Department’s counter-propaganda office https://t.co/EU7zWVJpqH
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) February 7, 2019
Lea Gabrielle, who joined Fox News in 2013 will be the new head of the Global Engagement Center, an agency that works to counter disinformation from Russia and other countries. https://t.co/Ppd3JxvS3p
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) February 8, 2019
— Neil Cavuto (@TeamCavuto) December 8, 2017
- Another Coordinator Gone, What’s Next For the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications?
- @StateDept Gears Up For Counterterrorism Messaging in the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa
- CSCC: Think Again. Or #StepAwayFromTheTweets Sez El Snarkistani (Updated)
- @StateDept Announces Michael D. Lumpkin as Head of New Global Engagement Center).
Posted: 3:00 am EST
Secretary Pompeo delivered his A Force for Good: America Reinvigorated in the Middle East remarks at the American University in Cairo (AUC) in Egypt on January 10, 2019. AUC President Francis Ricciardone who is a former U.S. ambassador to Egypt, Turkey and the Philippines and Palau and Pompeo’s host is now embroiled in a no confidence vote following the Pompeo visit. The AUC Caravan reports that AUC Senate voted by a majority of 80 percent in favor of a declaration of no confidence in AUC President Francis Ricciardone during a special session on February 5.
Academics at a prestigious Cairo university have voted to declare no confidence in its American president, weeks after he hosted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who delivered a fiery address https://t.co/MKVTr0h7Ea
— New York Times World (@nytimesworld) February 7, 2019
Today was a historical day at #AUC: The faculty finally stood up in unity w/a vote of no confidence in the university's president and cabinet. Here's the story from our student journalists at the @Caravan_AUC. https://t.co/jHnBHUyxTN @AAUP #highered #academia
— Kim Fox, 🎧 The Podcast Professor (@KimFoxWOSU) February 5, 2019
The American University in Cairo's senate issued a vote of no confidence this morning against its president Francis Ricciardone for inviting U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo to speak there last month w/out informing/consulting faculty https://t.co/CMGU5Rkom7
— Amira Howeidy (@amirahoweidy) February 5, 2019
Posted: 3:58 am PST
The U.S. diplomats in Venezuela were given 72 hours to leave the country by the Maduro Government following President Trump’s recognition of Juan Guaido, as the Interim President of Venezuela. The deadline would have been Saturday, January 26.
On January 24, the State Department declared an “ordered departure” status for the US Embassy in Caracas. On the same day, Maduro also extended that his deadline to Sunday, January 27.
On January 25, some members of the U.S. Embassy in Caracas were reported to be heading to the airport. AP reported that a letter by a U.S. Embassy security officer requesting a police escort for a caravan of 10 vehicles was leaked earlier in the day and published on social media by a journalist for state-owned TV network Telesur.
That RSO letter was not sent to the US-recognized Venezuelan government, the request was sent to local police, and was leaked to state-owned TV network. State-owned for now, remains the Maduro government.
On January 26, Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying that Maduro’s government suspended the expulsion of U.S. diplomats and cites a 30-day window for talks to set up interest sections following the rupture of diplomatic relations.
This is similar to what happened in Cuba in January 1961 when full diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba were severed. For several years, the United States was represented by Switzerland as its “protecting power” in Cuba. Much later, the U.S. Interest section opened in Havana. Below from the state.gov archives:
For the next 16 years, the U.S. was represented by the Swiss Embassy in Cuba. The U.S. Interest Section, or USINT, opened on September 1, 1977 re-occupying the seven-story former U.S. Embassy building. Officially, the Interests Section is part of and U.S. diplomats are accredited to the Swiss Embassy.
The USINT diplomatic staff provides a normal array of political and economic reporting, consular and visa services, administrative and security support and public affairs representation. Consular operations dominate USINT activities in Cuba, especially the implementation of the U.S. policy goal of promoting safe, legal, and orderly migration from Cuba to the United States. USINT has issued over 100,000 immigrant and refugee travel documents since 1994. By virtue of a reciprocal agreement, personnel ceilings are in effect limiting the number of personnel assigned to the U.S. Interests Section in Havana and the Cuban Interest Section in Washington.
But that’s supposing that the United States would consider setting up an Interest Section in Caracas.
It appears that Venezuela’s announcement maybe a one-sided plan. On January 27, Secretary Pompeo also issued a statement of its acceptance of the appointment of Carlos Alfredo Vecchio as the Chargé d’Affaires of the Government of Venezuela to the United States by interim President Juan Guaido.
The Maduro Government is moving towards an Interest Section in DC but the United States has already accepted interim President Juan Guaido’s appointment of Carlos Alfredo Vecchio as the Chargé d’Affaires in the United States as of January 25. “Mr. Vecchio will have authority over diplomatic affairs in the United States on behalf of Venezuela.”
The Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, D.C. is now closed for consular services; we don’t know if it’s been vacated. How or where the recognized Venezuelan CDA conducts diplomatic affairs remain to be seen. But it does not look like the US is looking to set up a reciprocal Interest Section.
So we’re back to what’s going to happen when the 30-day window runs out.
- US Embassy Venezuela Now on Mandatory Evacuation For Non-Emergency Staff and Family Members;
- @StateDept to Venezuela’s Maduro: You can’t break up with U.S. or PNG our unpaid diplomats!
- Maduro Breaks U.S. Diplomatic Relations, PNGs Diplomats But — USG Now Recognizes Guaido as Venezuela President .
- Venezuela Expels US Embassy Caracas CDA Todd Robinson, DCM Brian Naranjo #48Hours .
- Trump Announces New Visa Restrictions For Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, Somalia .
- @StateDept Orders Evacuation of US Embassy Venezuela Family Members, Authorizes Departure of Employees
Just got ahold of memos from the U.S. embassy in Caracas that helps spell out the security situation: As of last night, 124 Americans under the embassy's authority, a figure that included 46 family members 1/ https://t.co/o0GcijYmSA
— John Hudson (@John_Hudson) January 25, 2019
Meanwhile in Caracas and online, Maduro is shown dancing, going on a military march, and on patrol in the “coasts of Puerto Cabello in Amphibious Tanks, willing to defend our Homeland.”
RT @PresidentialVen: This is the Official Communiqué read by President @NicolasMaduro where mechanisms for the creation of the Office of Representation of Official Interests between the U.S. government and the Venezuelan government are agreed upon. pic.twitter.com/adC9KtWET2
— Nicolás Maduro (@maduro_en) January 27, 2019
Maduro showing off his dance moves.
Today, the joy of our youth was present in the act, I expressed my full support. Every young person in our country must be involved in study, work and social protection. Let nothing stop us! pic.twitter.com/qFvZgdhxrU
— Nicolás Maduro (@maduro_en) January 27, 2019
Maduro showing off a military march in a green shirt!
Military March with the men and women of the 41st Armored Brigade at Fort Paramacay. Men and Women of Honor! pic.twitter.com/3sSbHpAVLz
— Nicolás Maduro (@maduro_en) January 27, 2019
Maduro showing off a ride.
We patrol the coasts of Puerto Cabello in Amphibious Tanks, willing to defend our Homeland. pic.twitter.com/99TFGa5s9j
— Nicolás Maduro (@maduro_en) January 27, 2019
It looks like the President of the United States is ending 2018 by ranting that “heads of countries” are calling and asking why Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer “is not approving their otherwise approved Ambassadors.” Well, first, to be clear, if they are really calling the WH asking about this, they would not be calling about “their otherwise approved ambassadors” because that would mean, these countries are calling about “their” ambassadors representing them in Washington. As far as we know, the U.S. Senate is not the entity that grants agrément for foreign diplomats to be appointed to the United States.
The president appears to be talking about U.S. Ambassadors nominated to foreign countries, which means, these are “our” ambassadors, and not these countries’ ambassadors even if they are assigned to these mysterious countries (whose “heads of countries” are um apparently “calling” and asking about stuff). If this is kinda confusing, try and imagine Saudi Arabia’s MBS or Turkey’s Erdogan calling the WH and asking what Schumer did to “their otherwise approved Ambassador” – that is, the Saudi Arabian and Turkish Ambassadors to the United States. They would not call the U.S. Ambassadors destined to their respective countries “their” ambassadors. We doubt if MBS would even call and ask what Schumer did to John Abizaid, Trump’s nominee to be the U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia. Why would he? He got you know who. Would Erdogan call and ask what Schumer did to Trump’s nominee to be U.S. Ambassador to Turkey? He wouldn’t, cmon. There isn’t one.
Second, we should note that there are indeed multiple nominees pending on the Senate Calendar and waiting for their full Senate votes. Except for two nominations who are subjects to two Democratic Senate holds, the rest of the nominees have been waiting for GOP Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to put them up for a vote. Over the past year, the GOP appeared to prioritized the confirmation of judicial nominees. In the last 12 months, approximately 70 Judiciary nominees were confirmed while only about 47 State Department nominees were confirmed for the same duration (excluding USAID, UN, and Foreign Service lists).
We have a separate post on the nominations that are currently pending at the SFRC. We are anticipating that most of these nominees will be renominated at the beginning of the next Congress, and that most of them will probably get confirmation from the Senate given the GOP’s expanded majority in the 116th Congress. We don’t know how many more judicial nominees the GOP is planning to shovel through the confirmation process, however, but if there is a large enough number, those again could have an impact on the speed of confirmation for State Department nominees.
Below are the nominations pending in the Executive Calendar. May be there is a potential for the U.S. Senate to have mass confirmation of these nominations on January 2? You all can hope, right? We’ll have to wait and see.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Carol Z. Perez, of Virginia, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of MinisterCounselor, to be Director General of the Foreign Service, vice Arnold A. Chacon, resigned.
Ellen E. McCarthy, of Virginia, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Intelligence and Research), vice Daniel Bennett Smith.
Stephen Akard, of Indiana, to be Director of the Office of Foreign Missions, with the rank of Ambassador, vice Gentry O. Smith, resigned.
Lynne M. Tracy, of Ohio, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of MinisterCounselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Armenia.
Christopher Paul Henzel, of Virginia, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Yemen.
Sarah-Ann Lynch, of Maryland, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Co-operative Republic of Guyana
Earle D. Litzenberger, of California, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Azerbaijan.
Matthew John Matthews, of Virginia, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Brunei Darussalam.
Michael S. Klecheski, of New York, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Mongolia.
In October 2018, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) notes the following about the “northern triangle”:
“Instability in Central America is one of the most pressing
challenges for U.S. policy in the Western Hemisphere.
Several nations—particularly El Salvador, Guatemala, and
Honduras in the “northern triangle” of Central America—
are struggling with widespread insecurity, fragile political
and judicial systems, and high levels of poverty and
On October 22, 2018, President Trump said he intends to
cut off, or substantially reduce, aid to the northern triangle
countries. He has significant discretion to do so with funds
appropriated in FY2018, since Congress designated “up to”
$615 million for the Central America strategy, effectively
placing a ceiling on aid but no floor. The Consolidated
Appropriations Act, 2018 (P.L. 115-141), also empowers
the Secretary of State to suspend and reprogram some aid if
he determines the northern triangle governments have made
“insufficient progress” in addressing various legislative
Congress has placed strict conditions on assistance to the
northern triangle in an attempt to bolster political will in the
region and ensure foreign aid is used as effectively as
possible. According to the Consolidated Appropriations
Act, 2018 (P.L. 115-141),
25% of assistance for the central governments of El
Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras must be withheld
until the Secretary of State certifies that the
governments are informing their citizens of the dangers
of irregular migration, combating human smuggling and
trafficking, improving border security, and cooperating
with the United States to receive and reintegrate
repatriated citizens who do not qualify for asylum.
Another 50% must be withheld until the Secretary of
State certifies that the governments are addressing 12
other concerns, including combating corruption;
countering gangs and organized crime; increasing
government revenues; supporting programs to reduce
poverty and promote equitable growth; and protecting
the rights of journalists, political opposition parties, and
human rights defenders to operate without interference.
The State Department certified that all three countries met
both sets of conditions in FY2016 and FY2017. For
FY2018, it has issued certifications for all three countries
regarding the first set of conditions but not the second set.
In the 1990’s, denuclearization, a key aim of U.S. diplomacy, was at the heart of a series of crises on the Korean Peninsula throughout the Clinton Administration. Via history.state.gov:
There were signs of hope in early steps toward denuclearization. In January 1992, North Korea publicly committed to signing the nuclear safeguards agreement with the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and to permitting inspections of its primary nuclear facility at Yongbyon. In April of the same year, the North and South signed the Joint Declaration of the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, which barred the parties from developing or acquiring nuclear weapons and limited them to using nuclear energy for peaceful purposes only. […]
The parties returned to negotiations, but these, too, faltered as North Korea resisted IAEA inspections. By March 1994, North Korean diplomats threatened war if the United States and South Korea went to the U.N. In May North Korea withdrew from the IAEA. A last-minute private trip to North Korea by President Jimmy Carter in June 1994 averted war and led to U.S.-North Korean bilateral negotiations and the October 1994 Agreed Framework for the denuclearization of North Korea.
The Agreed Framework was a staged, multilateral agreement involving the two Koreas, the United States, and Japan. It required Pyongyang to halt its nuclear activities at Yongbyon, allow IAEA monitors in, and eventually dismantle the facility. In exchange, the United States, Japan, and South Korea would provide light water reactors, and the United States would provide interim energy supplies in the form of fuel-oil. Each stage was to build confidence that the parties were willing to continue.
In carrying out the agreement, however, numerous setbacks eroded trust among the parties. While the United States followed through on its promises to ship fuel-oil, the U.S. Congress delayed the deliveries. The 1997 IMF Crisis limited the ability of South Korea to contribute to the construction of the light water reactors, leading to delays. Meanwhile, North Korea engaged in provocative acts against South Korea and Japan, testing ballistic missiles and pursuing other weapons activities. In 1998, suspected nuclear weapons activities at Kumchang-ri brought the Agreed Framework to the brink of collapse. Once inspectors were finally allowed in, they found no evidence of nuclear activity, but mistrust remained high. The Clinton administration worked to get the Agreed Framework back on track, leading to the visit of a North Korean envoy to the United States, a joint statement of no hostile intent, and a reciprocal visit by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to Pyongyang in October 2000.
However, despite these efforts, the nuclear issue was still unresolved. It was not long before the next crisis would arise, requiring the international community to take another approach to addressing the denuclearization issue. North Korea broke out of the 1994 agreement in the winter of 2002, resulting in the opening of the Six-Party Talks the following year, hosted by China.
The President of the United States minus the “Mission Accomplished” banner, announcing the “historic victories against ISIS” and withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria:
The happy, thumbs-up people: