Reuters reported last week that CWT (formerly Carlson Wagonlit Travel) was hit with a strain of ransomware called Ragnar Locker, which encrypts computer files and renders them unusable until the victim pays for access to be restored. “Hackers who stole reams of sensitive corporate files and said they had knocked 30,000 computers offline.”
Elsewhere it is reported that the hackers “may have stolen 2 terabytes of data, allegedly including thousands of global executives credentials. This is particularly worrisome given CWT provides travel services to as much as 33% of the Fortune 500.”
ITNews notes that “CWT, which posted revenues of US$1.5 billion last year and says it represents more than a third of companies on the S&P 500 US stock index, confirmed the attack but declined to comment on the details of what it said was an ongoing investigation.”
The news mainly talks about the 2 terabyte of sensitive files exfiltrated which supposedly include global executive credentials, but a CWT division, CWTSatoTravel is one of two contractors awarded a master contract by GSA “responsible for soliciting and managing travel for the U.S. military and government clients.” Government clients include the State Department where Carlson Wagonlit manages its travel management center.
According to GSA, the U.S. Federal Government is the largest consumer of travel services in the world. ETS2, the government’s current Travel & Expense management solution, serves an active user base of over 1 million Civilian Government employees, and was used for 86 percent of all civilian agency travel in 2017.
ETS2 is a competitively bid master contract with two vendors providing agencies travel and expense software, hosting, and support services based on fixed-price transaction fees, which is a unique program within the Federal Acquisition Service (FAS).
Competitively bid ETS2 contracts were awarded to:
- Concur Technologies, Inc., of Redmond, WA, in June 2012; and
- CWTSatoTravel, of Arlington, VA, in September 2013.
CWTSatoTravel is the division of Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) responsible for soliciting and managing travel for the U.S. military and government clients. CWT is a global leader specialized in managing business travel and meetings and events.
The 2019 DOS Financial Report describes its Travel Systems Program
In 2016, the Department successfully transitioned to the next generation of the E-Government Travel Services (ETS2) contract with Carlson Wagonlit Travel. In 2016, the Department also implemented the Local Travel module allowing for the submission of local travel claims for expenses incurred in and around the vicinity of a duty station. The Department expanded the use of the Local Travel feature to also accommodate non-travel employee claims previously submitted through an OF-1164. In the Local Travel module, approvers will electronically approve claims and provide reimbursement to the employee’s bank account via EFT. The Department has completed this implementation for 118 posts overseas.
The Department continues to work with our bureaus and posts to identify improvements that can be made to the travel system. The Department also participates with other agencies to prioritize travel system enhancements across the Federal Government landscape. The Department worked with Carlson Wagonlit Travel to enhance the functionality of the Local Travel feature to more closely align with the temporary duty travel functionality for foreign currency and approver expense reduction options. The Department continues to work with Carlson Wagonlit Travel on enhancements to support integration improvements with our financial systems. The Department continues to work with Carlson Wagonlit Travel on enhancements to support the implementation of the Local Payments module domestically and has initiated work to implement mobile capabilities for approvals and reservations.
Somebody asked if anyone has publicly acknowledged that the initial hack may imply a massive potential personally identifiable information (PII) leak on the scale of the eQIP compromise.”
The company released a statement to The Register saying “we have no indication that PII/customer and traveller information has been affected.”
Has Foggy Bottom said anything?
But the online chat room where the ransom negotiations took place was left online, giving a rare and *incredibly* interesting insight into how these things actually go down pic.twitter.com/WmkI19Dxt8
— Jack Stubbs (@jc_stubbs) July 31, 2020
— The Register (@TheRegister) July 31, 2020
We received the following from Sender A, writing anonymously “I would happily critique or call out any regional or functional bureau in the Department of State under my true name, but I do not believe it would be safe to do the same in this case.” The writer says he/she had over 30 years of experience with the State Department, with almost all overseas service at differential posts. Service in Washington, D.C. included top ranking positions at more than one bureau. –D
~ * * * ~
Warrior Culture, Militarization, and Diplomatic Security
I’m puzzled that, with all the attention being paid to policing and law enforcement reform in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, no one seems to have instigated any scrutiny of the policies and practices of Diplomatic Security. Watching the heavily armed, camouflage clad federal officers operating in Portland certainly demonstrated that federal law enforcement in general has become significantly militarized; the same is true, in my experience of DS. Given the shortfall in consular revenue and the likely upcoming budget impact of coronavirus, it seems to me that a genuine cost/benefit analysis of Diplomatic Security and its practices is overdue. My hope is to start this discussion.
As a retiree and former Chief of Mission, I’ve observed with dismay for many years the militarization of diplomatic security and the proliferation of “security theater” by which I mean practices don’t actually make us safer but make the practitioners feel more powerful. At my COM post, with a new secure chancery in a low threat country, the entry procedure for visitors (including mine) was so onerous that most contacts were unwilling to meet with me in my office. They invariably preferred to meet in restaurants, which tells you something about the real level of threat. Despite three years of trying, I was unable to make much of a dent in this. I also saw a lot of security theater during tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. The emphasis on weapons (the heavier the better), vehicles, and security technology often outweighed any reliance on cultural or political understanding and mostly served to keep very expensive American employees hunkered down inside US facilities.
The militarization of the State Department, while most acute in DS, is not confined thereto. It reached a peak during the GW Bush presidency, when Sec. Rice constantly exhorted us to become “expeditionary.” While the warrior diplomat model seems to have waned, especially in light of the limited and often short-lived results of the Provincial Reconstruction Team experiment (gains accomplished at great risk and high cost in lives), the warrior ethos remains strong in DS.
Consider also the 20-story DS headquarters building in Rosslyn, that was built and kitted out mostly with antiterrorism funds (or so I was told). What really goes on there that is not duplicative of work already done elsewhere, (e.g., intelligence analysis)? At my last security clearance update, I was surprised to learn from the investigator (who worked out of his car!) that DS contracts out virtually 100% of clearance investigations, including new hires.
Then there’s the new training center, far away from Washington, about 60 miles SW of Richmond Virginia. I am baffled that the Department’s leadership allowed DS to slip the net and take their training so far away, apparently with no oversight. How will DS employees be integrated into the work of the Department when they have no interaction with the rest of us in training. Who will even know what is contained in DS curriculum. Why isn’t DS training at least structurally under the Foreign Service Institute, as is the training for (as far as I know) every other speciality.
I’m old enough to remember DS before its employees became law enforcement special agents, when they focused on soft skills, contacts, and interpersonal skills to solve problems, and when DS employees occasionally served tours outside DS which enhanced their understanding of other functions of the mission. I don’t miss everything about the “olden days,” especially not the derelict buildings that housed many of our missions, but I do believe that something was lost. Setbacks and blast resistant buildings aside, I’m not convinced that we’re that much safer with current security practice.
I acknowledge the many sacrifices that DS agents and other employees have made to keep Embassies, consulates and employees safe, and I’ve respected and liked many DS agents with whom I’ve worked. This letter is about leadership, risk management, which we claim we practice, and most of all about organizational culture. I’ve read with interest a number of past Diplopundit items about DS’s response to sexual harassment, sexual assault, and complaints from female agents about the work environment and believe that many of these problems have their roots in warrior culture as well.
On June 1, 2020, the State Department updated its Foreign Affairs Manual (12 FAM 030) covering the Accountability Review Board (ARB). The chair of the ARB Permanent Coordinating Committee will now be the director of the Office of Management Strategy and Solutions (M/SS). If we remember correctly, this used to be the director of M/PRI (Office of Management Policy, Rightsizing and Innovation (M/PRI). Another update relates to the classification authority of Board Members; they have no original classification authority; M/SS will exercise original classification authority on the Board’s work materials. On the ARB’s findings, the Board submits its findings to the Secretary of State through M/SS. The updated regs make clear that “the report will initially be provided solely to the Secretary, who will determine its subsequent distribution.”
The updated regs has not eliminated 12 FAM 036.4 which refers to Reports to Congress (an update from 10-05-2017). “Per the ARB statute, the Secretary will, not later than 90 days after the receipt of a Board’s program recommendations, submit a report to the Congress on each such recommendation and the action taken with respect to that recommendation.”
The Secretary is required to submit “a report” to the Congress not later than 90 days but the regs does not require him/her to submit the ARB report. The new regs says the secretary of state will determine the report’s “subsequent distribution.”
12 FAM 035 FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
12 FAM 035.1 Findings
a. Examination: A Board will examine the facts and circumstances surrounding the security-related incident or a visa incident.
b. Written submission: In its report to the Secretary, a Board makes written findings, which may be classified, as necessary.
c. Dissemination of findings: The board submits its written findings directly to the Secretary through the M/SS director, whose role is only to classify the document as appropriate (the Board members do not have original classification authority), and L, whose role is to offer legal advice about the report, including ensuring that the report meets the legal requirements laid out in 22 U.S.C. 4834. The report will initially be provided solely to the Secretary, who will determine its subsequent distribution. The Board’s written findings are distributed as directed by the Secretary following the Secretary’s receipt of the Board’s written findings.
12 FAM 034.2-5 Classification Authority
Members of the Board do not have original classification authority. The director of M/SS will exercise original classification authority for materials originating from Board activities.
12 FAM 032.1 ARB Permanent Coordinating Committee (ARB/PCC)
a. Purpose: The ARB/PCC will, as quickly as possible after an incident occurs, review the available facts and recommend to the Secretary to convene or not convene a Board. (Due to the 1999 revision of the law requiring the Secretary to convene a Board not later than 60 days after the occurrence of an incident, except that such period may be extended for one additional 60-day period, the ARB/PCC will meet within 30 days of the incident if enough information is available.) In addition, the ARB/PCC will meet yearly to review the ARB process, existing policies and procedures, and all past ARB recommendations, and ensure that any necessary changes are effected.
b. Membership: The ARB/PCC will be composed of the following members:
(1) The director of the Office of Management Strategy and Solutions (M/SS), who will chair the ARB/PCC; or designee
(2) The Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security or designee;
(3) The Assistant Secretary for Intelligence and Research or designee;
(4) The coordinator for Counterterrorism or designee;
(5) The assistant secretary or designee of the relevant regional bureau(s)
(6) One representative designated by and representing the DNI; and
(7) The Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs or designee.
NOTE: Designees must have the authority to vote at ARB/PCC meetings on behalf of their principal; they may not defer decisions until they have briefed the principal.
c. Other participants: As a result of the State-Justice Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) dated September 20, 2001, the Department of Justice has attended PCC meetings. The Department’s Deputy Legal Adviser, director of the Bureau of Medical Services, and Executive Secretary of the Executive Secretariat, or his/her designees, will attend PCC meetings. Also, as determined by the chairperson, representatives of other offices and agencies may be invited to work with the ARB/PCC. Participants listed in this section do not vote.
Via Rappler (Philippines):
On Monday night, February 10, Duterte launched a fresh round of verbal tirades against the US saying while top officials, including President Donald Trump, were trying to salvage the VFA, he was bent on having it terminated. (EXPLAINER: Visiting Forces Agreement)
Duterte first broached his plan to terminate the VFA on January 23, after the US canceled the visa of Senator Ronald dela Rosa. Dela Rosa is Duterte’s first Philippine National Police chief known as the architect behind the government’s bloody anti-drug campaign.
The President later said he was serious about his decision, adding his choice to do so was anchored on US lawmakers’ moves to impose travel and financial restrictions on Philippine officials linked to the detention of opposition Senator Leila de Lima and alleged extrajudicial killings (EJKs) under the Duterte administration. (READ: Why the Global Magnitsky Act matters to the Philippines)
— Rappler (@rapplerdotcom) February 11, 2020
@DFAPHL The Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of the United States has received the notice of termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement. As a diplomatic courtesy there will be no further factual announcements following this self-explanatory development. https://t.co/qQhywEpcea
— Teddy Locsin Jr. (@teddyboylocsin) February 11, 2020
"Behind this veneer of personal grievance lies a long-term desire to wean the Philippines away from the United States and deliver it into a strategic alignment with China before Duterte’s term ends in 2022." Renato De Castro on Duterte scrapping of the VFA https://t.co/AnZDiLMoai
— Greg Poling (@GregPoling) February 11, 2020
READ: U.S. Embassy in the Philippines’ statement on Philippines’ intent to terminate the U.S.-Philippines Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA). pic.twitter.com/sbUOe1Fwhz
— The Philippine Star (@PhilippineStar) February 11, 2020
President Trump tells us in the Oval that he doesn't mind Philippines' decision to cut U.S. military pact, says it will save the US a lot of money.
— Steve Holland (@steveholland1) February 12, 2020
— Maria Ressa (@mariaressa) February 11, 2020
Update 1:37 pm PST: Mid-day on Friday, CNN reports: After more than 48 hours of silence, Pompeo says State will investigate possible surveillance of ex-US ambassador
On January 14, we blogged about the Parnas documents indicating a possible surveillance of Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch while she was posted as U.S. Ambassador to Kyiv (see Parnas Materials: Surveillance of Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch in Kyiv).
According to NBC News reporter Josh Lederman, Robert F. Hyde reportedly dismissed the Parnas texts as “colorful texts” from when they’d “had a few pops way back when I used to drink” (see). When asked about Hyde’s claims of tracking Ambassador Yovanovitch, Lev Parnas in his first TV interview also said, “Well, I don’t believe it’s true.” He added, “I think he was either drunk or he was trying to make himself bigger than he was, so I didn’t take it seriously.”
Since we have not heard anything from the State Department or Secretary Pompeo, are we to understand that the State Department is just taking their words that they’re joking around or drunk as claimed in their worrisome exchange? Given subsequent reporting on the Hyde character, that’s possible, of course. But if there was something there, anyone really expect that these individuals would admit to some nefarious intent publicly?
On January 16, Ukraine’s Ministry of Interior announced that it opened an investigation on the possible surveillance:
Ukraine’s position is not to interfere in the domestic affairs of the United States of America. However, the published references cited contain a possible violation of the law of Ukraine and the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which protects the rights of a diplomat on the territory of the foreign country.
Ukraine cannot ignore such illegal activities on the territory of its own state.
Also on January 16, NBC News reported that the FBI paid a visits to Republican congressional candidate Robert Hyde’s Connecticut home and business. FBI spokesperson told The Hill, “There is no further information that can be shared at this time.” But as former DOJ staffer Matthew Miller points out, DOJ has had these messages for months. They’re investigating this claimed surveillance just now.
As of this writing, neither Pompeo nor the State Department has released any statement of concern on the possibility that one of its ambassadors was under surveillance for unknown reasons by people directly connected to Rudy Giuliani, the shadow secretary of state.
When State officials and Pompeo talk about protecting and supporting our diplomats in their town halls and chitchats, do they still say that loud with straight faces? Really, we’re curious.
It is without precedent (in my 20 years of doing this) and profoundly disappointing and disturbing that the @StateDept has been unable to come up with any kind of public response to alleged threats against a #US ambassador.
— Matt Lee (@APDiploWriter) January 16, 2020
— Matt Lee (@APDiploWriter) January 16, 2020
Asked about his own texts with Parnas last March which suggested he provided Parnas with a security detail while he was in Kyiv, Avakov declined to answer. “No comments,” he said through a spokesperson. https://t.co/uNJPOQwIJk
— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) January 16, 2020
— CNN NationalSecurity (@NatSecCNN) January 16, 2020
The State Department hasn't replied to multiple questions about the possibility Marie Yovanotich was under surveillance. They aren't commenting on whether they'll cooperate with Ukraine's investigation, whether they'll open their own investigation, or even addressing it at all.
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) January 16, 2020
What I find indefensible is that the State Department has not said a single word in defense of Ambassador Masha Yovanovitch 24 hours after the story broke that she might have been under surveillance in Kiev. Where is its leadership? https://t.co/zRupRmjJhl
— Nicholas Burns (@RNicholasBurns) January 16, 2020
DOJ has had those messages in its possession for months. It suddenly discovered the need to investigate them now, after they were released publicly and there was an outcry? https://t.co/swM9F5pKnr
— Matthew Miller (@matthewamiller) January 16, 2020
Donald J. Trump and Robert Hyde. pic.twitter.com/S5x8cmYw42
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) January 14, 2020
BREAKING: Chairman @RepEliotEngel demands documents from the Department of State connected to recently revealed records suggesting surveilling and threats to the security of Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch before she was recalled from the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/pR9gKZDlWq
— House Foreign Affairs Committee (@HouseForeign) January 15, 2020
House Dems are set to demand that the State Department account for Yovanovitch's safety during her stalking, in light of explosive Lev Parnas documents, aide tells me.
Pompeo's stonewalling suddenly looks much worse.
That and more in my new piece:https://t.co/kVHtmxSqo8
— Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) January 15, 2020
Former ambassadors and security experts @nahaltoosi and I spoke to agreed: A threat to a US ambassador coming from a U.S. citizen would probably be 1) more challenging to spot from a CI perspective and 2) harder to investigate from a legal perspective. https://t.co/f9j3uW8HoY
— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) January 15, 2020
— Nahal Toosi (@nahaltoosi) January 15, 2020
CRS: U.S. Killing of Qasem Soleimani: Frequently Asked Questions January 8, 2020
How has the State Department responded to protect its overseas personnel and posts in the Middle East and elsewhere from possible Iranian retaliation?
Secretary Pompeo has said that although U.S. personnel in the Middle East are safer following the removal of Soleimani from the battlefield, there remains “an enormous set of risks in the region” and that the United States is “preparing for each and every one of them.” 78 Secretary Pompeo has also remarked that the United States will ensure that its overseas diplomatic facilities are as “hardened as we can possibly get them” to defend against possible Iranian action.79 Following the December 31 blockade of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, 100 Marines assigned to the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force, Crisis Response–Central Command (SPMAGTF-CR-CC) were deployed at the State Department’s request to reinforce the Embassy. Analysts note that this Task Force, which was created after the 2012 attack on a U.S. post in Benghazi, is capable of providing compound defense through the use of air, ground, and, when necessary, amphibious operations.80 These additional forces augment the Marine Security Guard (MSG) detachment and other security personnel already present at the Embassy. MSGs have worked with the State Department to protect and safeguard U.S. overseas posts for over 60 years. Neither the State Department nor the Department of Defense disclose the number of MSGs serving at each overseas post. Chairman of the Joints Chief of Staff Army Gen. Mark Milley has expressed confidence regarding Embassy Baghdad’s security, stating that it is unlikely to be overrun and warning that air and ground capabilities there mean that anyone who attempts to do so “will run into a buzzsaw.” 81
Some analysts maintain that because Iran and its proxies have previously demonstrated their capability to perpetrate attacks throughout the world, the State Department must mitigate risks to the safety of U.S. personnel not only in the Middle East but worldwide.82 State Department regulations enable the Principal Officer at each overseas post (at an embassy, this would be the ambassador), Regional Security Officer (or RSO, the senior Diplomatic Security Service special agent serving at post), and the post’s Emergency Action Committee, with the support of Bureau of Diplomatic Security personnel in Washington, DC, to evaluate threats and develop and implement security policies and programs.83 Some analysts have suggested that past Iranian behavior indicates that the State Department should give special consideration to the threat posed by kidnapping or attacks focused on so-called “soft targets,” which include buildings such as schools, restaurants, or other public spaces that often are frequented by diplomats or their families.84
The State Department could also choose to close or change the status of an overseas post in response to evolving threat assessments. This occurred previously in Iraq, when in September 2018 the State Department announced that the U.S. Consulate General in Basrah would be placed on ordered departure, meaning that all U.S. personnel would be evacuated from post.85 Secretary Pompeo has stated that the State Department is continuing to evaluate the appropriate overseas diplomatic posture for the United States given the Iranian threat.86
New at https://t.co/FwORszfmvo : U.S. Killing of Qasem Soleimani: Frequently Asked Questions
— Every CRS Report (@EveryCRSReport) January 9, 2020
President Trump repeats his assertion that Iranian cultural sites would be fair game as military targets if Tehran carries through on its vow to attack Americans, dismissing views that striking cultural sites would constitute a war crime. https://t.co/39VlUNgz31
— The Associated Press (@AP) January 6, 2020
.@realDonaldTrump tells reporters on Air Force One he is prepared to go after Iranian cultural sites: “They’re allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people and we’re not allowed to touch their cultural sites? It doesn’t work that way.”
— Jeff Mason (@jeffmason1) January 6, 2020
— Glenn Kessler (@GlennKesslerWP) January 6, 2020
First, this was a total falsehood by @SecPompeo. Anyone can read what Trump tweeted. Second, Trump reiterated tonight to reporters on his plane that he would target cultural sites in Iran. He’s doubling down on it. https://t.co/ijYFdMW2ix
— Edward Wong (@ewong) January 6, 2020
….targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD. The USA wants no more threats!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 4, 2020
He's bringing back memories of Baghdad Bob. pic.twitter.com/szNjXxj5di
— JM (@JJmac76) January 5, 2020
Mike Pompeo: “People not only in Iraq, but in Iran, will view the American action last night as giving them freedom.”pic.twitter.com/KNJW72MGsb
— Jon Cooper 🇺🇸 (@joncoopertweets) January 3, 2020
Even the tenth of Muharram (Ashoura) processions can’t be compared to the funeral of #QassemSuleimani in #Tehran, the last huge funeral I saw in Tehran was Rafsanjani’s in 2017, it was huge, but not as today’s which I can say, cumulatively, is bigger than Imam Khomeini’s in 1989 pic.twitter.com/VTWB9dwWkp
— Ali Hashem علي هاشم (@alihashem_tv) January 6, 2020
Media reports indicate that Iraqi protesters, identified as Iraqi Shiite militia members and their supporters, stormed the U.S. Embassy Baghdad on December 31, in protest of the deadly air strikes conducted by U.S. forces over the weekend. Reports note that the Sunday strikes killed at least 25 fighters and wounded 55.
On December 30, SecDef Mark Esper announced that “the Department of Defense took offensive actions in defense of our personnel and interests in Iraq by launching F-15 Strike Eagles against five targets associated with Kata’ib Hezbollah, which is an Iranian-sponsored Shiite militia group. The targets we attacked included three targets in Western Iraq and two targets in Eastern Syria that were either command and control facilities or weapons caches for Kata’ib Hezbollah.”
On December 27, a rocket attack at an Iraqi base killed one U.S. contractor and wounded four U.S. troops. See https://on.wsj.com/2MBzEn5.
According to the AP, the State Department has stated that all U.S. personnel at Embassy Baghdad are safe and that there are no plants to evacuate.
This morning, U.S. Embassy Baghdad issued a security alert advising “U.S. citizens not to approach the Embassy. U.S. citizens should keep in touch with family members. In an emergency, U.S. citizens in Iraq or those concerned about family in Iraq should contact the Department of State at +1-202-501-4444 or toll-free in the U.S. at 1-888-407-4747.”
This was the scene as protesters attacked the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, the largest American embassy in the world. Anger over U.S. airstrikes that killed 24 members of an Iranian-backed militia over the weekend prompted the demonstrations.
— The New York Times (@nytimes) December 31, 2019
WATCH: Thousands of Iraqi protesters furious over deadly U.S. airstrikes storm the American Embassy in Baghdad, breaking down doors and setting fires https://t.co/zS7HQXjDyF pic.twitter.com/MO3UnaG06q
— CBS News (@CBSNews) December 31, 2019
The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad was stormed by thousands of protesters enraged by U.S. air strikes on Iraq. Embassy guards fired tear gas and stun grenades on protesters who set fires and hurled stones. American troops and some staff were still inside https://t.co/LdCvszL0Jg pic.twitter.com/VfiU68RPWc
— Reuters (@Reuters) December 31, 2019
All U.S. personnel at the embassy in Baghdad are safe and there are no plans to evacuate, the State Department says. No injuries were reported when dozens of Iraqi Shiite militiamen and their supporters broke into the embassy compound. https://t.co/3QJtLuQ5Ek
— The Associated Press (@AP) December 31, 2019
Kataib Hezbollah protesters breaching the gates of the US embassy in Baghdad. They say they will stay till US troops leave. It’s the biggest US embassy in the world & supposedly secure but hard to see how diplomats can remain now pic.twitter.com/17VkjQA71W
— Liz Sly (@LizSly) December 31, 2019
— Liz Sly (@LizSly) December 31, 2019
The Marines reinforcing the U.S. embassy in Baghdad are with the special-purpose crisis response task force that commanders in the Middle East have available to them, U.S. military officials says. They work out of Kuwait.
Marines just released photos:https://t.co/CxgtIpYpem
— Dan Lamothe (@DanLamothe) December 31, 2019
After failure of #Iraq Security that it helped train/equip post-Saddam to protect its own Embassy, US taking matters into its own hands.
US commander tweets video of Apache helicopter + flares in sky of Baghdad tonight following embassy attack pic.twitter.com/o0QmaXm4dN
— Joyce Karam (@Joyce_Karam) December 31, 2019
“Iraqi security forces made no effort to stop the [crowd] as they marched to the heavily-fortified Green Zone after a funeral held for those killed in the U.S. airstrikes, letting them pass through a security checkpoint leading to the area.” https://t.co/EOkgGP9E5U https://t.co/doH6ZUkVIK
— Chad Garland (@chadgarland) December 31, 2019
We have taken appropriate force protection actions to ensure the safety of American citizens, military personnel and diplomats in country, and to ensure our right of self-defense. We are sending additional forces to support our personnel at the Embassy.
— Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark T. Esper (@EsperDoD) December 31, 2019
.@SecPompeo spoke with Prime Minister Mahdi and Presient Salih and reinforced their responsibility to protect our diplomatic facilities. We will respond if our people are harmed, and we continue to support an independent Iraq. pic.twitter.com/LF9PhlGOlz
— Morgan Ortagus (@statedeptspox) December 31, 2019