The Senate is back in session and Wednesday is going to be a packed to the gills day with confirmation hearings via video conference for nine of President Biden’s nominees for ambassadorial posts as well as top jobs in Foggy Bottom and USAID.
Employees’ concerns regarding the assignment restrictions process were plentiful: it was unfair, lacked transparency and was based on ethnic origin or family heritage. Our advocacy to the State Department on the issue began in 2009 and continued in earnest through 2016.
The case was framed by input from countless numbers of employees who came to us expressing real frustration, disillusionment and anger over the lack of transparency and accountability in the process. In some cases, the department had prioritized hiring these officers because of their language skills, only to turn around and preclude them from using those valued language skills overseas.
While assignment restrictions affect many State department employees of different backgrounds, we accumulated substantial anecdotal evidence that it has disproportionately affected employees of AAPI descent. Our data suggested assignment restrictions were levied with race as a factor, with disregard for mitigating circumstances and even based on incorrect facts.
Per FAM, assignment restrictions are conditions placed on a security clearance. They are used to prevent potential targeting and harassment by foreign intelligence services as well as to lessen foreign influence and/or foreign preference security concerns; for example, if an employee and/or his or her close family members maintain citizenship or dual citizenship with that country or have substantial financial interests or foreign contacts there. Foreign influence and preference are two of the U.S. Government’s Adjudicative Guidelines for Determining Eligibility for Access to Classified Information.
Assignment restrictions may be determined when the initial clearance determination is made, during periodic reinvestigation, or when an individual’s personal situation changes; i.e., marriage, cohabitation, etc. (see 12 FAM 270). An individual may be restricted from permanent assignment to a particular country or countries, or in some cases, a desk and/or program where that country or countries are the primary focus. Desks or other positions may present vulnerabilities for targeting when there is frequent official contact with foreign individuals. Individuals with an assignment restriction to a country may not serve temporary duty (TDY) in that country for more than a total of 60 days during any 365 day period.
In 2019 I was sworn-in as the then only Korean American in Congress. Now I sit on Foreign Affairs Committee with oversight over StateDept. I will now demand that we fix this problem, working with @TedLieu and others. And we will press for more fixes across our Gov and nation(END) pic.twitter.com/YPfhA4tHoE
— Andy Kim (@AndyKimNJ) March 20, 2021
Hi! the unroll you asked for: I’ll never forget the feeling when I learned that my own government… https://t.co/sKFOolC5MT Talk to you soon. 🤖
— Thread Reader App (@threadreaderapp) March 20, 2021
I was never told I couldn't work on UK issues and I was born in England to an English mum.
— Wendell "masked up" Albright (@WendellAlbright) March 21, 2021
Not spoken about enough: discrimination in NatSec agencies—against those cleared for such work—due to vague fear of dual loyalties.
The contradiction between who we talk about recruiting due to their perspective and who we allow to work is awful. https://t.co/8sUi5f3XqD
— Loren DeJonge Schulman (@LorenRaeDeJ) March 19, 2021
Dan Diller and Auburn native Brian McKeon are members of different political parties. But as staffers on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, they worked together. https://t.co/CpsABIeltM
— The_Citizen (@The_Citizen) March 2, 2021
Senate Foreign Relations Confirmation hearing: Wendy Sherman to be deputy secretary of State and Brian McKeon to be deputy secretary of State for management and resources – LIVE online here: https://t.co/gAyyKMBYL2 pic.twitter.com/gQsEWaTCjV
— CSPAN (@cspan) March 3, 2021
Wendy Sherman and Colin Kahl both face Senate confirmation hearings this week where they are expected to be grilled on their work negotiating the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and Biden’s approach to the United States’ top Middle Eastern rival.https://t.co/fdw6jhYWdL
— Foreign Policy (@ForeignPolicy) March 4, 2021
Amb. @wendyrsherman to @SenatorShaheen: "In everything I do at the @StateDept on behalf of the American people, I will make sure that women are included." #HistoricFirst#FirstButNotTheLast
— Dr. Tamara Cofman Wittes (@tcwittes) March 3, 2021
If confirmed, three priorities will guide my time as Secretary.
First, I will work with you to reinvigorate the Department by investing in its greatest asset: the foreign service officers, civil servants, and locally employed staff who animate American diplomacy around the world.
I know from firsthand experience their passion, energy, and courage. Often far from home and away from loved ones, sometimes in dangerous conditions exacerbated by the global pandemic – they deserve our full support. If I am confirmed as Secretary, they will have it.
I am committed to advancing our security and prosperity by building a diplomatic corps that fully represents America in all its talent and diversity. Recruiting, retaining, and promoting officers with the skills to contend with 21st Century challenges and who look like the country we represent. Sparing no effort to ensure their safety and well-being. Demanding accountability – starting with the Secretary – for building a more diverse, inclusive and non-partisan workplace.
Second, working across government and with partners around the world, we will revitalize American diplomacy to take on the most pressing challenges of our time.
We’ll show up again, day-in, day-out whenever and wherever the safety and well-being of Americans is at stake. We’ll engage the world not as it was, but as it is. A world of rising nationalism, receding democracy, growing rivalry with China, Russia, and other authoritarian states, mounting threats to a stable and open international system, and a technological revolution that is reshaping every aspect of our lives, especially in cyberspace.
For all that has changed, some things remain constant.
American leadership still matters.
The reality is that the world doesn’t organize itself. When we’re not engaged, when we don’t lead, then one of two things happen: either some other country tries to take our place, but probably not in a way that advances our interests or values. Or no one does, and then you get chaos. Either way, that does not serve the American people
Humility and confidence should be the flip sides of America’s leadership coin.
Humility because we have a great deal of work to do at home to enhance our standing abroad. And humility because most of the world’s problems are not about us, even as they affect us. Not one of the big challenges we face can be met by one country acting alone – even one as powerful as the U.S.
But we’ll also act with confidence that America at its best still has a greater ability than any country on earth to mobilize others for the greater good.
Guided by those principles, we can overcome the COVID crisis – the greatest shared challenge since World War II.
We can outcompete China – and remind the world that a government of the people, by the people, can deliver for its people.
We can take on the existential threat posed by climate change.
We can revitalize our core alliances – force multipliers of our influence around the world. Together, we are far better positioned to counter threats posed by Russia, Iran, and North Korea and to stand up for democracy and human rights.
And in everything we do around the world, we can and we must ensure that our foreign policy delivers for American working families here at home.
Let me conclude with a word about this institution, whose resilience and determination was on full display in the aftermath of senseless and searing violence in these halls. Both the President-elect and I believe we must restore Congress’s traditional role as a partner in our foreign policy making.
In recent years, across administrations of both parties, Congress’s voice in foreign policy has been diluted and diminished.
That doesn’t make the executive branch stronger – it makes our country weaker.
President-elect Biden believes – and I share his conviction – that no foreign policy can be sustained without the informed consent of the American people. You are the representatives of the American people. You provide that advice and consent. We can only tackle the most urgent problems our country faces if we work together, and I am dedicated to doing that.
If confirmed, I will work as a partner to each of you on behalf of all Americans.
— Nahal Toosi (@nahaltoosi) July 23, 2020
"Pls have Mr. G bring the documents," wrote Kenna in an email in March 2019.
At the time, Giuliani was working to smear the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine as part of an effort to get her fired, and he was trying to deliver a "dossier" to Pompeo. https://t.co/hBwt95BvHb pic.twitter.com/erhCrOPyLd
— American Oversight (@weareoversight) July 23, 2020
Democrats outline what ousted State IG Steve Linick told them today during an interview that lasted nearly 7 hours. pic.twitter.com/vNKQmV8jzW
— Zachary Cohen (@ZcohenCNN) June 4, 2020
Sondland goes off script to note that LISA KENNA was his conduit to Pompeo and says she would print out emails for Pompeo to read.
He then reads from an email he sent her about the statement for 2016/Burisma investigation. She said she'd pass to Pompeo. https://t.co/qifS4iqwPD
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) November 20, 2019
— CSPAN (@cspan) November 21, 2019
Updated: Nov 13, 2019
Updated: Nov 15, 2019
This week's public hearings are a historic moment; only three presidents have ever been subject to an impeachment inquiry before.
Here’s how the hearings will work and the key players you need to know https://t.co/OeBRSqazMt
— POLITICO (@politico) November 12, 2019
PBS has said they will carry #ImpeachmentHearings live but only rebroadcast in prime time on the WORLD digital channel. Please ask them to reconsider so all Americans can watch the hearings on their local stations. Who wins? Democracy–and viewers like you. https://t.co/pIq9gkHi1I
— BillMoyers.com (@BillMoyers) November 9, 2019
The national press faces its most difficult and important test of the Trump era starting Wednesday. Here's how they can ace it. (Beware of stunts; focus on substance not speculation; lose the mealy-mouthed language of false equivalence.) My column: https://t.co/qlI7DDHCrV
— Margaret Sullivan (@Sulliview) November 10, 2019