13 Going on 14 — GFM: https://gofund.me/32671a27
Oh, but look here. How long has the FAM been outdated, pet?
For nearly a decade, continuing the work of retired ambassador Brian Carlson, I have published a table revealing the ongoing, bipartisan failure to fill the office of the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. The first publication of the data was in December 2011 under my direction when I was the executive director of the US Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. An addendum appeared on this blog the following month, January 2012, which was revised in November 2017. Another update appeared here in August 2019, followed by another in December 2020. This is the sixth public edition.
The vacancy is not a failure of design that requires establishing a new bureaucracy but a marquee failure of leadership to appreciate the role of public opinion in foreign affairs, including but well beyond the realm of “national security.” The senior-most leadership has failed to recognize the potential of this position and failed to empower, support, and hold accountable the officeholders. There are exceptions, but these prove the rule. The negligent marginalization of information in US foreign policy is best represented not by the efforts to work around this office with the establishment of the Global Engagement Center or calls to recreate USIA but by bipartisan inaction that has left this office on the sidelines and vacant 40% of the time since it was established twenty-two years ago.
Recognizing the advances in assisted reproductive technology (ART), the State Department is updating our interpretation and application of Section 301 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which establishes the requirements for acquisition of U.S. citizenship at birth.
Children born abroad to parents, at least one of whom is a U.S. citizen and who are married to each other at the time of the birth, will be U.S. citizens from birth if they have a genetic or gestational tie to at least one of their parents and meet the INA’s other requirements. Previously, the Department’s interpretation and application of the INA required that children born abroad have a genetic or gestational relationship to a U.S. citizen parent.
This updated interpretation and application of the INA takes into account the realities of modern families and advances in ART from when the Act was enacted in 1952.
This change will allow increased numbers of married couples to transmit U.S. citizenship to their children born overseas, while continuing to follow the citizenship transmission requirements established in the INA. Requirements for children born to unmarried parents remain unchanged.
At the same time, we remain vigilant to the risks of citizenship fraud, exploitation, and abuse. As with all citizenship and immigration benefits we examine, the Department will implement this policy in a manner that addresses these concerns.
8 FAM 304.3-1 BIRTH ABROAD TO A U.S. CITIZEN GESTATIONAL MOTHER WHO IS ALSO THE LEGAL MOTHER AT THE TIME SHE GIVES BIRTH (Birth mother, but NOT genetic mother) (CT:CITZ-33; 04-03-2020)
a. A child born abroad to a U.S. citizen gestational mother who is also the legal parent of the child at the time of birth in the location of birth, whose genetic parents are an anonymous egg donor and the U.S. citizen husband of the gestational legal mother, is considered for citizenship purposes to be a person born in wedlock of two U.S. citizens, with a citizenship claim adjudicated under the Immigration and nationality Act (INA) 301(c).
b. A child born abroad to a U.S. citizen gestational mother who is the legal parent of the child at the time of birth in the location of birth, whose genetic parents are an anonymous sperm donor and the U.S. citizen wife of the gestational legal mother, is considered for citizenship purposes to be a person born in wedlock of two U.S. citizens, with a citizenship claim adjudicated under INA 301(c).
c. A child born abroad to a U.S. citizen gestational mother who is the legal parent of the child at the time of birth in the location of birth, whose genetic parents are an anonymous egg donor and the non-U.S. citizen husband of the gestational legal mother, is considered for citizenship purposes to be a person born in wedlock of a U.S. citizen mother and alien father, with a citizenship claim adjudicated under INA 301(g).
d. A child born abroad to a U.S. citizen gestational mother who is the legal parent of the child at the time of birth in the location of birth, and who is not married to the genetic mother or father of the child at the time of the child’s birth, is considered for citizenship purposes to be a person born out of wedlock of a U.S. citizen mother, with a citizenship claim adjudicated under INA 309(c).
The Department of State has updated its policy recognizing the realities of modern families and increased use of assisted reproductive technology. Congratulations to this American family living in Japan, who were among the first to benefit! https://t.co/qsrof9VH7Y pic.twitter.com/QcsIsskWPm
— Travel – State Dept (@TravelGov) June 7, 2021
Assisted reproductive technology (ART) can alleviate the burden of #infertility on individuals & families, but can also present challenges to public health. For over 20 years, CDC has been monitoring the safety & effectiveness of ART use & outcomes. #IVF https://t.co/sr8znvAXBn pic.twitter.com/Y3O6hufQZe
— CDC Division of Reproductive Health (@CDC_DRH) June 4, 2021
Julieta Valls Noyes, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Population, Refugees, and Migration, Department of State
Julieta Valls Noyes, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Career Minister, is Deputy Director of the Department of State’s Foreign Service Institute, and a former U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Croatia. She previously served as a Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs in the Department of State, Deputy Executive Secretary of the Department, and as Deputy Chief of Mission and Charge d’Affaires a.i. at the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See. She also was Deputy Director of the Department’s Operations Center, and Director of the Office of Multilateral and Global Affairs in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. Earlier, Noyes served as Deputy Director, Office of Policy Planning and Coordination, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, as Political Section Chief, U.S. Embassy Panama City, and as Political Officer at U.S. Embassy Madrid. Noyes earned a B.A. from Wellesley College, and a Master’s from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. She speaks Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and French. Noyes is a first-generation American whose parents entered the United States as refugees.
60 years ago, my family had to leave their birth country forever. Welcomed as refugees in the US, they became proud Americans. Humbled by the chance to repay our debt to this great nation. President Biden Announces Key Nominations | The White House https://t.co/IBDzOEtLYs
— Julieta Valls Noyes (@JVNoyes) June 3, 2021
Meet #FSI Acting Director Amb. Julieta Valls Noyes, who served as U.S. Amb. to Croatia before joining FSI leadership. In one of her previous roles as Deputy Executive Secretary for @StateDept, Amb. Noyes managed 20 trips for two Secretaries of State, traveling over 200,000 miles! pic.twitter.com/rDBrkhnP24
— Foreign Service Institute (@FSIatState) March 25, 2021
— Julieta Valls Noyes (@JVNoyes) October 22, 2020
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said: “As alleged, Sina Moayedi made misrepresentations about his employees’ qualifications and his company’s ownership in order to induce the State Department into awarding approximately $100 million in lucrative construction contracts to Moayedi’s company, Montage, Inc. Moayedi also allegedly cultivated a State Department insider, and paid the insider lucrative bribes in exchange for confidential State Department bidding information. Moayedi must now be held accountable for his alleged brazen fraud on the government.”
Special Agent in Charge Michael Speckhardt said: “As alleged, the defendant’s scheme to undermine the Department’s procurement process for personal gain caught up with him today and he will now be held accountable. His alleged actions not only hurt other legitimate businesses competing for awards, but also damage the public’s trust in the effective and efficient utilization of taxpayer money.”
According to allegations in the Complaint:
Montage, Inc. (“Montage”) is a U.S.-based business that is primarily involved in worldwide Government construction projects, including embassies, military posts, consulates, and similar overseas properties owned and operated by the United States Government. Montage has performed over $220 million in contracting work for the U.S. Government, including for the Department of Defense, the Department of Justice/Federal Bureau of Investigation, the State Department, the Department of the Interior, the Department of Agriculture, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (“NASA”), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Since 2014, Montage appears to have focused primarily on competing for and obtaining contracts with the State Department. During that period, the State Department has awarded Montage approximately six overseas U.S. Embassy/Consulate construction project contracts totaling $100 million, in locales such as Ecuador, Spain, Sudan, the Czech Republic, and Bermuda. The founder of Montage is SINA MOAYEDI.
Montage engaged in at least two fraud schemes. The first scheme alleges that, from approximately 2014 to September 2020, MOAYEDI and Montage lied that it was a female-owned business in order to secure unmerited advantages in the bidding process. By way of context, it is advantageous to a company, when bidding for federal government contracts, to be majority-owned by an individual from a socially or economically disadvantaged community. In fact, certain contracts (or portions of contracts) are “set aside” for – i.e., only available to – such companies. MOAYEDI and Montage repeatedly represented falsely in submissions to the State Department that Montage was female-owned, or female-owned and minority-owned, in order falsely to induce the State Department to award Montage lucrative construction contracts. In actuality, MOAYEDI repeatedly lied about Montage being a female-owned business, and indeed, MOAYEDI controls Montage and makes all material decisions on Montage’s behalf. As MOAYEDI revealed to a bank that inquired about Montage’s ownership status, “I am the sole owner and president of Montage and have always been.” Montage and MOAYEDI also repeatedly misrepresented, and significantly overstated, the qualifications of Montage employees. MOAYEDI made these misrepresentations in order to, among other things, meet State Department and contractual requirements for minimum experience in certain key positions.
The second scheme charged in the Complaint is a bribery scheme during at least 2016 and 2017. Insider-1 is employed in the State Department’s Overseas Building Operations (“OBO”), which, according to OBO’s website, “directs the worldwide overseas building program for the Department of State and the U.S. Government community serving abroad.” Specifically, Insider-1 works for the State Department’s OBO Project Development and Coordination Division, European division.
MOAYEDI, 66, of Chevy Chase, Maryland, is charged with one count of wire fraud, and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, each of which carries a maximum potential prison sentence of 20 years, and one count of bribery of a public official, which carries a maximum potential prison sentence of 15 years.
 As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Complaint and the description of the Complaint set forth below constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.
15. Based on my review of State Department records, I am aware that between approximately 2014 and 2017, Montage was awarded six U.S. embassy/consulate construction projects with the State Department, worth a total of approximately $100 million.
26. Based on information derived from witness interviews, I reviewed resumes submitted by Montage for various State Department projects. Department requirements referenced in the contract specify certain levels of experience in order to serve as “key personnel” (i.e., personnel whom the State Department has deemed critical to the safe, successful, and timely completion of a project).
In the course of my review, I identified numerous deficiencies regarding the resumes of key personnel submitted to the State Department for the Guayaquil, Ecuador project.
a. For example, Montage submitted an individual for the key role of Project Controls Engineer and Site Health Project Manager. In the claimed experience for this individual, it stated that he was employed at Montage since 2008 and had “inspected emergency egress and life/safety issues” and conducted “inspections of asbestos containment.” In fact, this individual had only been employed at Montage for approximately one year, and served in an office staff capacity, performing none of those duties.
[O]ne Montage employee’s resume claimed that he had earned a bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering and also claimed years of full-time complex work in the construction field in various capacities over several years. Neither representation was true. In fact, this individual testified at a deposition that they did not graduate; and this individual’s SF-86 security clearance application noted that this individual had actually sold meat as a door-to-door salesman, was a landscaper, and built swimming pools for several years during the period that they had claimed years of full-time complex work in the construction field.
39. I am aware, from my personal participation, that a judicially authorized search warrant was executed at the residence of Insider-1, on or about May 20, 2021. On that date, Insider-1 was informed, in substance, that she was not in custody, she was free to go, and she was not required to speak with law enforcement agents. She then participated in a voluntary interview with myself and an SDNY Special Agent on her back porch, and she made the following statements, in substance and part:
a. At first, Insider-1 claimed to have sold a large green rug to SINA MOAYEDI, the defendant, for about $60,000, but she said that the payment for the rug came from MOAYEDI’s friend.
Investigators working for the State Department’s inspector general suspect May Salehi took massive kickbacks to get out from under a mountain of debt https://t.co/9vw9oIUmpA
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) May 28, 2021
Alert: U.S. citizens overseas who have a U.S. passport that has expired after January 1, 2020 may use their expired passport to return to the U.S. until December 31, 2021. More information here: https://t.co/ab7j7fq4vm (1/2) pic.twitter.com/UV3rIFxicq
— Travel – State Dept (@TravelGov) May 25, 2021
If you are overseas and your passport expired on or after January 1, 2020, you may be able to use your expired passport to return directly to the United States until December 31, 2021.
You qualify for this exception if all the following are true:
You do not qualify for this exception if:
All other passport rules and regulations remain in effect. The Department of Homeland Security maintains discretion to reject any bearer in accordance with 22 CFR 53.2(b)(7) and 8 CFR 235.1(b).
The Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) established the Special Program for Embassy Augmentation and Response (SPEAR) in 2014 to address post-Benghazi Accountability Review Board-identified weaknesses in host nation capacity to protect U.S. personnel and facilities at high-threat posts. SPEAR falls under the Specialized Programs Division (SPD) of the DS Training Directorate, Office of Antiterrorism Assistance (DS/T/ATA).
SPEAR is designed to enhance the security of high-threat, high-risk posts by providing training and loaning equipment to host nation law enforcement security units assigned to respond to emergencies at U.S. diplomatic facilities.
The annual SPEAR budget is approximately $33 million. The SPEAR Office has 20 domestic personnel (5 U.S. direct-hire staff and 15 third-party contractors) in Dunn Loring, VA, that support broader SPEAR operations as well as 13 third-party contractors who serve as SPEAR mentors overseas. Regional Security Officers (RSOs) at post supervise the overseas contract mentors.
SPEAR is funded through the Worldwide Security Programs-Overseas Contingency Operations account. There are 29 Department employees and contractors supporting SPEAR; 20 work solely on SPEAR while the remaining 9 also handle other SPD-supported programs.
Complainant is an Asian American, who immigrated from the People’s Republic of China. Complainant alleged that one of his subordinates harassed him on the bases of his race (Asian) and national origin (Chinese) by engaging in various types of unwelcome conduct, including, but not limited to:
Complainant also alleged that his supervisors were aware of this subordinate’s unwelcome conduct but failed to effectively stop it. Assuming the allegations of the subordinate’s unwelcome conduct to be true, was the subordinate’s conduct sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of Complainant’s employment such that Complainant stated an actionable claim of discriminatory harassment in violation of Title VII?
At the time of events giving rise to this complaint, Complainant was employed by the Agency as a Branch Chief and Supervisory Diplomatic Interpreter, GS-15, at the Agency’s Office of Operations, Office of Language Services, Non-European Language Branch, in Washington, D.C.
On July 10, 2020, Complainant filed a formal EEO complaint alleging that he was subjected to ongoing harassment/a hostile work environment on the bases of race (Asian) and national origin (Chinese) by one of his subordinates. Complainant further alleged that management officials were aware of the harassment but failed to adequately address it.
The subordinate was assigned to Complainant’s branch on February 3, 2020, after completing a 15-year stint at the Agency’s U.S. Embassy in Beijing, China. Complainant and his supervisors, the Division Chief and the Office Director, were already familiar with the subordinate, whose employment with the Agency dated back to the 1980s.
In his EEO complaint, Complainant alleged that, during the relevant time frame, the Division Chief and the Office Director were aware of several, if not all, of the subordinate’s alleged harassing actions, which included:
4. Beginning February 3, 2020, and ongoing, the subordinate regularly attempted to report directly to the Division Chief and Office Director instead of Complainant, disregarding their repeated instructions that he report through his line of supervision.
5. Beginning February 3, 2020, and ongoing, nearly all of the subordinate’s communication toward Complainant was disrespectful, such as “very rude emails.”
6. Beginning February 3, 2020, and ongoing, the subordinate continuously thwarted Complainant’s supervision by, among other things, seldom acknowledging Complainant’s emails, ignoring deadlines, and deliberately failing to satisfactorily complete assignments.
7. Between February 3, 2020 and July 10, 2020, the subordinate attended four out of the 40 meetings Complainant hosted or co-hosted as the Branch Chief, and in at least one instance (a Branch-wide staff meeting Complainant called for March 9, 2020), the subordinate made a point of leaving the office in front of Complainant’s other subordinates when the staff meeting was about to start.
8. The subordinate made fun of Complainant’s phrasing in an email he sent requesting an assignment from the subordinate, even though the phrasing, the result of Complainant’s non-native English, did not impact the content of the message.
9. The subordinate pretended not to understand Complainant’s pronunciation of the phrase “Go Virtual” and asked him to repeat himself multiple times in a manner that made Complainant self-conscious and uncomfortable.
10. From March 17, 2020 through July 10, 2020, the subordinate completed only two of the 10 assignments Complainant had given him despite Complainant’s emails and extensions.
11. On July 8, 2020, during a phone meeting about the subordinate’s Mid-Year Review, the subordinate parsed Complainant’s words, such as “work” and “assignment,” and then told Complainant, “you need to improve your English and learn how to make yourself clearer in the future.”
12. On July 8, 2020, during the Mid-Year Review phone meeting, the subordinate revealed that he was aware that Complainant had initiated an EEO complaint, accused Complainant of playing “the race card”, and told Complainant, “don’t play that game with me.”
After careful review of the record, we determine that the allegations in this complaint, taken together, state a viable claim of discriminatory harassment. Nearly all of the alleged harassing incidents occurred on or after February 3, 2020, within the supervisor/subordinate relationship between Complainant and the subordinate, which involved frequent interaction and directly impacted Complainant’s work performance. As for the allegations of events that occurred before Complainant became the subordinate’s supervisor, they can be considered as additional evidence in support of Complainant’s overall harassment claim.
Complainant has alleged that his supervisors were aware of the subordinate’s harassing conduct towards him but failed to effectively stop it. In fact, Complainant alleged that the harassing behavior of the subordinate continued without abatement through the filing of his complaint.
A complainant may demonstrate the necessary severity or pervasiveness to state a harassment claim by alleging that the harassing actions unreasonably interfered with his or her work performance. 2 In cases involving subordinate harassment, the impact on work performance typically manifests itself by reducing the complainant’s effectiveness as a supervisor or undermining the complainant’s credibility or authority in the eyes of other subordinates or coworkers. See, e.g., Opal; Gilberto S. v. Dep’t of the Air Force, EEOC Appeal No. 0120151198 (Mar. 11, 2016). Here, Complainant alleged that the subordinate continually undermined his authority as a supervisor, including with other employees witnessing his conduct. Taking Complainant’s allegations together and assuming them to be true, we determine that the subordinate essentially refused to recognize Complainant as his supervisor, which unreasonably and directly interfered with Complainant’s work performance. For example, Complainant alleged that the subordinate continually reported to Complainant’s supervisors instead of Complainant, rarely acknowledged Complainant’s emails or satisfactorily completed assignments, attended only four out of 40 meetings Complainant hosted or co-hosted during the relevant time frame, and completed only two out of 10 assignments.
According to Complainant, these alleged harassing acts drained Complainant’s time, as he describes sending “dozens” of emails to try and get the subordinate to complete his assignments. Complainant alleged that the subordinate’s conduct impacted Complainant’s own productivity and effectiveness, as well as the morale of the team. See, e.g., Opal; Gilberto S. v. Dep’t of the Air Force, EEOC Appeal No. 0120151198 (Mar. 11, 2016).
The subordinate’s alleged behavior occurred in the context of a nation-wide increase in reports of harassment against Asian Americans. 5 Asian American workers face multiple sources of discrimination. One source is language or accent discrimination. Perceptions of Asian accents may negatively affect the communication skills and perceived competence of Asian American workers. […] Another source of discrimination is the perception of Asian Americans as “forever foreign.” Perceptions of Asian Americans as foreign can negatively impact assessments of communication ability, competence and, importantly, trustworthiness. Id.
In the context of a contentious hour-long phone meeting, where he already made derogatory remarks about Complainant’s English proficiency, S1 notified Complainant that he was aware of Complainant’s EEO activity. The phrase, “don’t play that game with me,” and accusation of “playing the race card” in reference to Complainant’s EEO activity were stated in a manner that that could be found reasonably likely to deter EEO activity. There is no evidence that management took any steps to prevent or address the retaliatory conduct, which, along with S1’s apparently cordial relationship with Complainant’s supervisors, further supports that these statements, while made by a subordinate, state a viable claim of retaliation.
ORDER (E0618) The Agency is ordered to process the remanded complaint in accordance with 29 C.F.R. § 1614.108 et seq. The Agency shall acknowledge to the Complainant that it has received the remanded claims within thirty (30) calendar days of the date this decision was issued. The Agency shall issue to Complainant a copy of the investigative file and also shall notify Complainant of the appropriate rights within one hundred fifty (150) calendar days of the date this decision was issued, unless the matter is otherwise resolved prior to that time. If the Complainant requests a final decision without a hearing, the Agency shall issue a final decision within sixty (60) days of receipt of Complainant’s request. As provided in the statement entitled “Implementation of the Commission’s Decision,” the Agency must send to the Compliance Officer: 1) a copy of the Agency’s letter of acknowledgment to Complainant, 2) a copy of the Agency’s notice that transmits the investigative file and notice of rights, and 3) either a copy of the complainant’s request for a hearing, a copy of complainant’s request for a FAD, or a statement from the agency that it did not receive a response from complainant by the end of the election period.