It looks like Washington, D.C. is one real hotspot with ever brimming chaos these days. Folks who write those Real Post Reports should do one for the United States of America.
We understand that there are still “a lot of curtailments” continuing out of China even now because “The Thing” is still going on according to a note in our mailbox.
In January 2018, the SFRC’s had a Subcommittee Hearing Attacks on U.S. Diplomats in Cuba: Response and Oversight. In September 2018, Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo requesting that the Trump administration provide an unclassified version of the State Department’s recent Accountability Review Board (ARB) report on the incidents affecting the health of U.S. personnel serving in Cuba. We have not been able to locate any congressional oversight hearings on the incident in China. We don’t know if there is an ARB China. If an ARB was convened on the health attacks in China, there does not appear to be any public notification.
In late October, an NBC News investigation indicates that US diplomats are concerned that the State Department is down-playing a pattern of what’s been called “health attacks” on diplomatic staff in Cuba and China. (see Is @StateDept Working to Minimize the Health Attacks in China? #Cuba #MissingARBs). If curtailments are still going on, that indicates that USG employees and family members in one of our largest overseas missions remain in harm’s way, so who’s talking about it? Somebody please ask your friendly senior administration official what are they doing about it. Three years ago, we would have had back to back congressional hearings not just on the Havana Syndrome, but also on the China Syndrome, and on the State Department’s response to these attacks. Can we please have some oversight hearings in January, pretty please?
This one about Canadian diplomats and their families. G&M reports that nine Canadian adults and four children have been diagnosed with the brain injuries. “The Canadians who were affected in 2017 are all in Canada and still employed by Global Affairs, although several are unable to work because of their symptoms.”
The National Passport Center is located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. NPC opened in 1992 and this past November, it processed its 100 millionth passport application. Below excerpted from State/OIG’s report, Targeted Review of Leadership and Management at the National Passport Center:
Backgrounder: NPC, the largest of 29 passport-processing agencies and twice the size of the next largest, issued 7.4 million passports in FY 2017, or 38 percent of all passports issued by the U.S. Government from October 2016 to September 2017. Located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, the center was created in 1992, and it grew from 60 employees at its founding to approximately 900 following a 2007 surge in passport demand.
At the time of the inspection, NPC’s staff consisted of a GS-15 Director, 6 GS-14 Assistant Directors, 16 GS-13 Adjudication Managers, and 57 GS-12 Supervisory Passport Specialists who supervised approximately 350 Passport Specialists. Additional staff included Customer Service and Fraud
Prevention employees, Passport Operations Officers, and over 400 contractors who were responsible for passport production and other support services. NPC operates two flexible shifts, which together cover 22 hours per day Monday through Friday. In addition, depending on workload, NPC scheduled overtime shifts on Saturday and Sunday.
Work Environment and CA/PPT Leadership: Senior leaders in CA’s Office of Passport Services (CA/PPT) were aware of concerns regarding NPC’s work environment since at least 2013, when several NPC employees made allegations against NPC leadership. The employees alleged harassment, “bullying,” a lack of trust in leadership, favoritism, abusive behavior to employees, improper hiring procedures, and an overall lack of transparency in the operations of the organization. In response to the allegations, CA/PPT instructed the Director of the Northeast Regional Office, who oversees NPC and other passport agencies, to conduct an internal review of NPC, which he did in January and February 2014. […] To address the internal review’s findings, CA/PPT ordered extensive executive coaching and training for NPC’s Director and senior leaders. The training lasted approximately 2 years and ended in 2016.
How not to solve the problem: OIG also determined that CA/PPT and NPC senior leaders were disengaged and, based on OIG interviews, generally aware of concerns regarding harassment, abuse, and misconduct. During OIG’s review, CA/PPT senior leaders told OIG that they blamed some of the issues at NPC on the fact that employees have known each other for a long time, dismissing the allegations as grudges held from high school and referring to employees as “crusty New Englanders.” CA/PPT’s senior leaders moreover acknowledged inappropriate behavior at NPC, but hoped that “being really busy would solve the problem.”
Being really busy is their hopeful solution? Good lord, who are these people? Are they available to work their magic wand as WH chiefs of staff?
It works! OIG Hotline Complaints: Between February and May 2018, OIG received a series of hotline complaints alleging misconduct, harassment, retaliation, and unfair hiring practices at NPC. […] Hundreds of NPC employees reported to OIG that retaliation, harassment, and “bullying” pervaded the work environment at NPC. OIG found that the reported behavior was widespread and was either condoned or perpetrated by nearly all levels of NPC leadership. Seventeen percent (91) of NPC employees who responded to OIG’s survey reported that they had experienced or observed discrimination and harassment. Of the 156 NPC employees OIG interviewed, 54 (35 percent) stated that they had experienced or observed retaliation, 80 (51 percent) stated that they had experienced or observed harassment, and 61 (39 percent) stated that they had experienced or observed discrimination.
Employees reported to OIG multiple instances of perceived or possible retaliation by Assistant Directors, Adjudication Managers, and other Supervisory Passport Specialists in denying awards, promotions, and special assignments.
Multiple employees reported incidents of sexual and gender-based harassment to OIG, which in some cases, had been ongoing, widely known, and accepted as part of the center’s culture.
Holy Guacamole Alert! NPC’s already problematic workplace environment was exacerbated by the fact that communication was ineffective at all levels within NPC. […] One example of poor communication was the lack of a formal and effective process for explaining and interpreting new guidance with Passport Specialists. When CA/PPT Office of Adjudication (CA/PPT/A) issued new or updated adjudication-specific guidance, its implementation instructions to passport agencies stated that Adjudication Managers must meet with Passport Specialists to discuss the guidance, answer questions, and ensure everyone understands how to implement the new guidance.10 However, NPC’s Adjudication Managers consistently and affirmatively refused to meet with Passport Specialists.
You read that part above and you think that’s just bonkers. If they’re not meeting regularly to discuss new passport guidance, how would they know if the guidance they have is already outdated?
Security Procedures: In the course of examining the leadership and communication issues described previously, OIG also learned that NPC did not comply with all required Department security procedures. Specifically […] NPC did not follow facility access control measures that govern employee entry and exit, creating an opportunity for individuals without approved access to enter the building.
Admonishment from CA/PPT senior leader and NPC managers: OIG also notes that, after its site visit, a CA/PPT senior leader visited NPC. According to an information memo CA prepared for the Deputy Secretary following the visit, the CA/PPT senior leader communicated to NPC employees that the Department does not tolerate retaliation. However, OIG subsequently received complaints that CA/PPT senior leaders and NPC managers admonished staff for complaining to and speaking with OIG.
We should note that the OIG report does not include the names of the senior leaders at CA/PPT or the managers at NPC but they’re on LinkedIn, is that right? Please don’t make them lead the Consular Leadership Day festivities next year, hookay?
On November 27, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) — not Robert Mueller’s but the federal agency with authorities to investigate cases related to the Civil Service Reform Act, the Whistleblower Protection Act, the Hatch Act, and the Uniformed Services Employment & Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) — issued a new guidance regarding political activity. It says that its Hatch Act Unit has received several questions regarding whether the following constitute “political activity” for purposes of the Hatch Act:
1. Is strong criticism or praise of an administration’s policies and actions considered political activity?
Criticism or praise that is directed toward the success or failure of a political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group is political activity. Absent evidence that the criticism or praise is so directed, criticism or praise of an administration’s policies and actions is not considered political activity. Whether a particular statement constitutes political activity depends upon the facts and circumstances.
Consider, for example, the administration’s recent decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. An employee who strongly criticizes or praises that decision during a workplace discussion with a colleague in the days immediately following the decision is less likely to be engaging in political activity than one making those same statements in the run-up to the next presidential election—when the decision will likely have been out of the news for several years—to a colleague that the employee knows has strong feelings about
Read more here.
2. Is advocating for or against impeachment of a candidate for federal office considered political activity?
Yes. Read more here.
3. Is activity related to “the Resistance” considered political activity?
To the extent that the statement relates to resistance to President Donald J. Trump, usage of the terms “resistance,” “#resist,” and derivatives thereof is political activity. We understand that the “resistance” and “#resist” originally gained prominence shortly after President Trump’s election in 2016 and generally related to efforts to oppose administration policies. However, “resistance,” “#resist,” and similar terms have become inextricably linked with the electoral success (or failure) of the president. During the period when President Trump was not considered by OSC to be a candidate for reelection the terms did not raise any Hatch Act concerns. Now that President Trump is a candidate for reelection, we must presume that the use or display of “resistance,” “#resist,” “#resistTrump,” and similar statements is political activity unless the facts and circumstances indicate otherwise.
Note that this presumption is only relevant to employee conduct that takes place on duty, in the workplace, while wearing an agency uniform or insignia, or while invoking any official authority or inﬂuence. Provided that they comply with the Hatch Act’s restrictions, employees are free to engage in political activity while off-duty and away from the federal workplace.
In OSC’s example, if you tweet “I must #resist the temptation to eat another donut from the break room” – you would not/not be engaging in political activity but OSC would presume that “the use or display of the hashtags #resist and #resistTrump, in isolation, is political activity under the Hatch Act.” Read in full here.
The thing is, Foreign Service folks are considered on duty 24/7, so what does this guidance means in the real world? We’ve asked the OSC; will update if we hear anything back.
You may also call the Hatch Act Unit at 202-804-7002 or send an e-mail to Hatchact@osc.gov for your Hatch Act-related questions.
— Nick Schwellenbach (@schwellenbach) November 30, 2018
Federal Employees Barred From Discussing Trump’s Impeachment at Work https://t.co/kkmlXe1p8k
— Intelligencer (@intelligencer) November 30, 2018
Two million federal workers receive memo warning they can’t use the word ‘resist’ or discuss Trump impeachment at workhttps://t.co/jakRSeFtAB
— Raw Story (@RawStory) November 30, 2018
NEW: Office of Special Counsel (not Mueller) Hatch Act guidance effectively bans federal employees from advocating for impeachment or using the words “resist” or “resistance” to oppose administration policies. We’re calling on OSC to rescind the guidance: https://t.co/AZuRXZo1Rn pic.twitter.com/lG1kSZcjER
— American Oversight (@weareoversight) November 29, 2018
— Kathleen Clark (@clarkkathleen) November 30, 2018
The point of the Hatch Act is to prevent an Administration from misusing federal employees for its own political purposes. Overzealous enforcement to bar federal employees from publicly _resisting_ bad policies turns the Hatch Act on its head. https://t.co/vxBnhNAmSM
— Sasha Samberg-Champion (@ssamcham) November 30, 2018
From pulling out of treaties to denigrating allies to starting trade wars, the impulsive actions of President Donald Trump are upending the international order that has been in place since the end of World War II.
But even before Trump’s belligerent foreign policy positions, America had been gradually losing its dominant role in world affairs.
A power shift among the nations of the world began at the end of the Cold War and has been accelerating this century.
It is not as simple as saying “America is in decline,” since America remains a powerful country. But American global power has been eroding for some time, as I argue in the Foreign Policy Association’s “Great Decisions 2018” volume. The power of other countries has grown, giving them both the ability and the desire to effect global affairs independently of U.S. desires.
I am a foreign policy scholar and practitioner who has studied U.S. foreign policy through many administrations. I believe this global trend spells the end of the “exceptional nation” Americans imagined they were since the nation was founded and the end of the American era of global domination that began 70 years ago. We are no longer the “indispensable” nation celebrated by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright at the end of the last century.
Pax Americana no more
Since the end of WWII, the U.S. has been the central player in the international system, leading in the creation of new international organizations like the United Nations, NATO, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
American diplomacy has been essential to multinational agreements on trade, climate, regional security and arms control. Americans could and did claim to be at the center of a “rules-based international order.”
Those days are gone.
Not only do China and Russia contest America’s global role, a growing number of other countries are asserting an independent and increasingly influential role in regional economic and security developments.
Neither American political party has come to grips with this sea change. Until they do, U.S. global actions are likely to be less effective, even counterproductive.
Who’s on top?
The power shifts are increasingly visible. In the Middle East, the U.S. hoped for decades to isolate Iran as a pariah and weaken the regime until it fell.
Today, that goal is unimaginable, though national security adviser John Bolton continues to imagine it.
The Russians are in the Middle East region for good, building on their long-standing relationship with the family of Syria’s dictator.
Turkey, a rising regional power, acts increasingly independent of the preferences of the U.S., its NATO ally, playing its own hand in the regional power game.
The U.S. helped unleash these trends with the strategically fatal invasion of Iraq in 2003 – fatal, because it permanently removed a regional leader who balanced the power of Iran. The failure to create a stable Iraq stimulated regional religious and political conflicts and rendered ineffective subsequent U.S. efforts to influence current trends in the region, as the continually ineffective policies in Syria show.
In Asia, decades of U.S. condemnation and efforts to contain the rise of Chinese power have failed. An assertive China has risen.
China now plays almost as powerful a role in the global economy as the U.S. It has defended an authoritarian model for economic growth, armed artificial islands in the South China Sea, and built a military base in Djibouti. China has created new multilateral organizations for security discussions and one for infrastructure loans, which the U.S. declined to join. It has developed a global lending program – the Belt and Road Initiative – and has stepped into a stronger global role on climate change. And China is spreading its political and economic influence into Africa and Latin America.
The U.S. cannot slow Chinese economic growth nor contain its power. China is changing the rules, whether the U.S. likes it or not.
North Korea behaves more and more like a regional power, winning a direct meeting with the U.S. president while making only a general commitment to denuclearize. The prospect of a unified Korea would bring into being another major regional power center in the Northern Pacific.
Other countries, like the Philippines and Australia, hedge their bets by improving bilateral relations with China. And India is a growing economic and military presence in the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asia.
Nor will the U.S. contain the rise of Russia, whose government poisons its citizens overseas and kills dissenters at home. At the same time, Russia is rebuilding its military and intruding in others’ elections. The Russian regime is threatening its near neighbors and actively engaging in the Middle East.
President Vladimir Putin asserts Russia’s interests and role in the world, like any other great power. Russia is consciously and actively rebalancing the power of the United States, with some success.
Military power, the American global trump card, is not as useful a tool as it once was.
While the U.S. continues to have the world’s only global military capability, able to deploy anywhere, it is no longer evident that this capability effectively sustains U.S. leadership. Clear military victories are few – the Gulf War in 1991 being an exception. The endless U.S. deployment in Afghanistan carries the whiff of Vietnam in its inability to resolve that country’s civil war.
Meanwhile, the militaries of other countries, acting independently of the U.S., are proving effective, as both Turkish and Iranian operations in Syria suggest.
Abroad at home
The transition to this new era is proving difficult for American policy-makers.
The Trump “America First” foreign policy is based on the view that the U.S. needs to defend its interests by acting alone, eschewing or withdrawing from multilateral arrangements for trade, economics, diplomacy or security.
Some conservatives, like Sen. John McCain, call for confrontation with Russia and strengthening traditional American alliances, particularly NATO.
Others, like John Bolton, call for regime change in assertive powers like Iran.
Liberals and many Democrats criticize Trump for alienating traditional allies like Canada, France and Germany while befriending dictators. Policy-makers once critical of confrontational policies now condemn Trump for failing to confront Russia and China.
A different president in Washington, D.C., will not restore the “rules-based” international order. The underlying changes in global power relations have already undermined that order.
A neo-conservative foreign policy, featuring unilateral American military intervention, as favored by John Bolton, will only accelerate the global shift. Liberal internationalists like Hillary Clinton would fail as well, because the rest of the world rejects the assumption that the U.S. is “indispensable” and “exceptional.” Barack Obama appeared to recognize the changing reality, but continued to argue that only the U.S. could lead the international system.
America will need to learn new rules and play differently in the new balance-of-power world, where others have assets and policies the U.S. does not and cannot control.
Gordon Adams, Professor Emeritus, American University School of International Service
Posted: 12:19 PT
We’re days late on this but the United States opened the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem on May 14. The event sparked protests at the Gaza border which resulted in the deaths of over 50 Palestinians and hundreds of wounded protesters.
With the Embassy officially moved to Jerusalem, Tel Aviv has not been designated as a consulate general but as a “Branch Office”. The State Department did update its 2 FAM 440 on Changing Post Status on May 18, four days late and it does not enlightened us on what happens to the Tel Aviv post, the consular districts, the role of the chief of mission to USCG Jerusalem or for that matter, what happens to place of birth names on passports as 7 FAM 1300 Appendix D has not been updated. Note that previous to this move, USCG Jerusalem’s consular districts include the West Bank, Gaza, and the municipality of Jerusalem while Embassy Tel Aviv’s consular district includes all other territory in Israel.
We understand that the Consul General in Jerusalem will continue to live in the chief of mission residence (CMR) on the Agron Road consulate site. It is also our understanding that USCGJerusalem — a separate post with its own chief of mission that reports directly to the bureau and was never a constituent post of then Embassy Tel Aviv — “will go on as usual” even after the ambassador and mission to the State of Israel move to Jerusalem. So the USG will have two posts in Jerusalem, each with a different mission? Are there going to be one or two separate consular sections? What’s bidding going to be like? We’re having a moment with FAM confusion, help would be appreciated from folks in the know.
Last December, @POTUS acknowledged Israel’s capital is Jerusalem. He directed @StateDept to move our embassy to Jerusalem as recognition of that reality. I'm incredibly proud that today, on Israel's 70th anniversary of independence, #USEmbassyJerusalem is open.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) May 14, 2018
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) May 14, 2018
Son-in-law Jared Kushner speaks at US Embassy opening in Jerusalem: "The US stands with Israel because we both believe in freedom… in human rights… that democracy is worth defending." So far, 41 Palestinians protesters have been killed at the border. pic.twitter.com/whbk8bnBEF
— Paula Chertok🗽 (@PaulaChertok) May 14, 2018
US @statedeptspox says State had no role in picking the controversial pastor Robert Jeffress for opening ceremony for US Embassy in Jerusalem. Says Ambo Friedman picked him. Said of pastors views "we would certainly not agree with his remarks about some religious groups."
— Paul Danahar (@pdanahar) May 15, 2018
Robert Jeffress says “you can’t be saved by being a Jew,“ and “Mormonism is a heresy from the pit of hell.” He’s said the same about Islam. Such a religious bigot should not be giving the prayer that opens the United States Embassy in Jerusalem.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) May 14, 2018
BREAKING: Israeli soldiers shot and killed at least 41 Palestinians at the Gaza border pic.twitter.com/VNyUGshmSe
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) May 14, 2018
At least 41 Palestinians killed by Israeli troops in clashes on the Gaza border, as US opens embassy in Jerusalem
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) May 14, 2018
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) May 14, 2018
Opinion: Under Trump, the U.S. has abandoned the last shred of balance on Israel https://t.co/dqKdBxC6OP
— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) May 14, 2018
— Jason D. Greenblatt (@jdgreenblatt45) May 7, 2018
— USEmbassyJerusalem (@usembassyjlm) May 7, 2018
First road sign for the new US embassy in Jerusalem.
It’s happening, folks. pic.twitter.com/VagUCK8dZH
— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) May 7, 2018
New US Embassy building in Jerusalem plan unveiled. The new US Embassy will be inaugurated in Jerusalem next week, then construction works to be completed on coming years by American, Israeli firms. 🇺🇸 🇮🇱 pic.twitter.com/vabYO3Yjtd
— Michael Dickson (@michaeldickson) May 7, 2018
Posted: 2:55 pm PT
Via BuzzFeed’s John Hudson:
After an intense battle with the White House over his first choice to become the top US diplomat to Asia, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is considering a new candidate with a deep resumé in business and economics but little diplomatic experience…
Olin Wethington, a former Treasury Department official and a nonresident fellow at the Atlantic Council, is now a contender for the nomination of assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, four individuals familiar with the matter said.
Tillerson originally wanted the job to go to Susan Thornton, a veteran diplomat who speaks Mandarin Chinese, two US officials told BuzzFeed News. But White House officials opposed her due to concerns that her views were out of step with the president’s agenda — a claim State Department officials deny.
Ultimately, in shifting to Wethington, Tillerson appears to be acquiescing to the White House, which has shown a preference for appointments with a strong business background over career diplomatic experience.
Read in full the John Hudson scoop below.
Secretary Tillerson once took a few minutes to “communicate” his “high regard for the men and women of the State Department.
He promised that as secretary of state he would “deploy the talent and resources of the State Department in the most efficient ways possible, and that he would “depend on the expertise of this institution.”
“Your wisdom, your work ethic and patriotism, is as important as ever. And as your Secretary, I will be proud to draw upon all these qualities in my decision-making,” he told his employees not too long ago.
When asked once what inspires him when he comes to work at the State Department every day, Secretary Tillerson said that “the men and women of the State Department inspire me, my colleagues – their professionalism, their commitment, their patriotism.”
As recently as last month, during a hearing at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee defending the gutted budget of his agency, he repeated that “My colleagues at the State Department and USAID are a deep source of inspiration, and their patriotism, professionalism, and willingness to make sacrifices for our country are our greatest resource.”
Despite his “high regard” for the men and women of the State Department, and his promise to “depend on the expertise of the institution” he is now leading, and despite the fact that he declared them a “deep source of inspiration” to him, he apparently does not have any control over his staffing, or for that matter, how his building is run.
And seriously, if Tillerson “loves” the AA/S for EAP Susan Thornton, a career diplomat with deep expertise in the former Soviet Union and East Asia, but could not hire her because she has not sworn a blood oath to the kool aid special, what hope is there for other career professionals in Foggy Bottom?
So the next time, Secretary Tillerson talks about his high regard for his people at the State Department, or how he is inspired by his people’s patriotism, professionalism and their sacrifices, remember that Foggy Bottom is now the “Real Post of the Month” and will remain to be so in the foreseeable future. Also don’t forget to check your playbook to see what’s next in dramatic plays over in Foggy Bottom. We understand that the plays, Another Load of Old Crap With the Word Inspiration in the Title; Margaret, Don’t Eat the Government Cheese; and Gone to Texas are all on repeat on BNET.
Posted: 2:09 am ET
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This Burn Bag was sent to us “as a holiday wish to the hundreds of DS agents still without even an handshake this bidding season and to their families who are also waiting.” As requested, we’ve considered the following and are publishing the entire post in the sender’s hope that it might bring a little smile to those still waiting for their assignments. Well, a little smile and as Mr. Google says in his imperfect Italian, maybe “accendere un fuoco sotto il sedere di qualcuno” …
A Visit from the Saint “No Word Yet”
‘Twas just days before Christmas and all through the house,
Frustration was building for the DS spouse.
Bids had been entered in FSBid with great care,
In the hopes that DS would do its fair share;
The DS spouse wonders just what is in store,
for their beloved agent – alone – in Lahore.
October 31st, it came and it went,
But for DS agents few handshakes were sent.
When asks the spouse, oh when will we know?
Will it be Paris, Bangui, or Toronto?
Maybe a Field Office, far from DC.
Or perhaps a year or two with MSD.
Spouses query one another with fear and despair,
It really seams as if DS Does.Not.Care.
On November 4 and December 1, jobs are assigned one-by-one.
In hushed voices agents questions those around,
To what office or mission will I be bound?
Will it be the same as my tandem spouse?
We did all the legwork for the six posts that work,
For a DS spouse needing political work.
My GSO wife or my Management hubby,
Would be extremely happy in Abu Dhabi!
To the top of the list, will my name they call?
Will we know where were going, long before fall?
Uncertainty swirls as the days tick by,
The DS spouse lets out a great cry!
How will we get the kids into school,
If we do not know we’re going to Banjul?
Maybe its time to let this ship go.
Can’t you jump ship to be a U.S. Marshall, too?
The uncertainty for the DS spouse is a constant refrain,
The long hours, TDYs and standing in the rain.
The worry at home when the dear agents abroad,
Protecting our missions, our livelihood, our jobs
But alas, we play this game each and every year,
Just waiting and waiting, and waiting to hear.
By the time all is set and the last chess move is made
Someone will have gone through many a tirade.
That job is gone, and that one, too, what is the DS agent to do?
A now post or the third PSP – isn’t it time for something new?
The powers that be, simply do not see
Just what a drag this process can be.
The black hole of bidding in the hands of a few,
Determine the destiny with nary a clue,
Of what this does to house and home,
When the prices drags on they’re drafting a tome.
Over half of the cohort still waiting to know,
Would there, could there be a miracle?
On Christmas eve with a visit from St. Nick,
Will they let us know they’ve gotten on the stick?
A Christmas dream or a Christmas wish,
Waiting for a handshake, oh the suspense!
The call hasn’t come and the spouse is a fright,
As the DS agent again goes off in the night,
But I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight,
This systems gotta change, cause it just isn’t right!
Posted: 12:22 am ET
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We’ve previously blogged about diversity and harassment issues at the Bureau of Diplomatic Security (See Dear @JohnKerry: One of Your Foggy Bottom Folks Is Asking — Is This Diversity?, POTUS Issues Memo Promoting Diversity and Inclusion, and @StateDept Sounds Like Baghdad Bob; PDAS Miller Issues Sexual Harassment Message to Diplomatic Security Employees, What’s Missing?).
DS recently released a video celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Diplomatic Security Service. The original investigative office was called the Bureau of Secret Intelligence. Later, the organization evolved into the Office of the Chief Special Agent, then the Office of Security (SY), then became the Diplomatic Security Service. Click here to view the newly released “DSS Then & Now – The First Century of the Diplomatic Security Service” photo history book (PDF).
The video below includes the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary and Director of the Diplomatic Security Service Bill Miller; Victor Dikeos, former Director of Security (1974-1978), and the following DS employees in order of their appearance: Wendy Bashnan, Special Agent in Charge; Steven Antoine, Asst Special Agent in Charge; Mark Baker, Special Agent; Shane Morris, Diplomatic Courier; Kendall Beels, Special Agent; and Luis Matus, Deputy Regional Director, High Threat Program.
The DS video featured nine former and current employees including two female DS agents and one female DS courier. DS has previously used Agent Bashnan in another PR brochure, A Global Force: Agent Profile. Shane Morris was the Diplomatic Courier of the Year for 2011. Kendall Beels was one of the two DS agents who shut down a massive U.S. visa fraud ring operating in the tri-state area of New York City and was awarded the Federal Law Enforcement Foundation (FLEF) Investigators of the Year Award in 2006.
1916 – 2016
By the way, A Global Force: Agent Profile brochure says that “For women who choose Diplomatic Security as a career, there are no limits to how far you can go.” Also that “Diversity is one of the greatest strengths of Diplomatic Security.”
Folks who want to rate this in Pinocchios are welcome to do so in the comment space.
Posted: 12:15 am ET
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FSO Jennifer Davis officially began her tenure as U.S. Consul General in Istanbul on October 25, 2016. On October 29, USCG Istanbul was officially placed on mandatory evacuation order for family members. Below is her welcome video in Turkish.
Below is a brief bio posted by USCG Istanbul:
Jennifer Davis is a career member of the U.S. Foreign Service and a 2016 Distinguished Graduate of the U.S. National War College, where she received the George Kennan Award for Excellence in Strategic Writing. From 2012-2015, she served as the Executive Assistant to U.S. Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry. She also has served as the Deputy Political Counselor at Embassy Bogota, Acting Deputy Political Advisor and Political Officer at USNATO, Special Assistant to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Watch Officer in the State Operations Center, and Consular Officer and Special Assistant to the Ambassador in Mexico City.
Before joining the Foreign Service, Jennifer was a corporate attorney specializing in media and banking law. She clerked for the Honorable Judge James C. Fox in the Eastern District of North Carolina. She has a B.A. with distinction and J.D. with honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a BCL (LL.M.) in international law from the University of Oxford in England. She is the wife of fellow U.S. diplomat Nick Harris and the proud mother of two boys.Former Consuls General:
- Charles F. Hunter – September 2013-August 2016
- Scott Frederic Kilner – September 2010-September 2013
- Sharon Anderholm Wiener – August 2007-July 2010
- Deborah K. Jones – August 2005-July 2007
- David L. Arnett – July 2002-July 2005