U.S. Marks One-Year Anniversary of January 6 Insurrection


Related posts:

In Unsurprising News, Watchdog Finds WSOS Violated Federal Law With RNC Speech



Related posts:

State/OIG: US Embassy Iceland Focuses on “Rebuilding Staff Morale” Following Pol Ambo’s Tenure


State/OIG conducted its inspection of the US Embassy in Iceland from March 15 to June 28, 2021. That’s about three months since Trump’s political ambassador had left post. The report says “Despite several months having elapsed since his departure, OIG found at the time of the inspection that embassy staff were still recovering from what they described as a threatening and intimidating environment created by the former Ambassador.”
Surely, the mothership knew what was happening in Reykjavik from 2019-2021? No? But State/OIG says that the relationship became “so strained at one point during his tenure that the then-Undersecretary for Political Affairs instructed the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs (EUR) to work directly with the Icelandic Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ensure proper management of the bilateral relationship.”
Oh, dear! Is this the same P (and D) who did their song and dance during the IO debacle?
State/OIG did not undertake this inspection until March 2021. We have not been able to find Iceland on its Work Plans for 2019-2020, 2020-2021, or 2021-2022. Previous to this report, we have been able to find one other report on Iceland dated February 2011. Makes one wonder why the OIG only inspected post on March 2021 and not earlier. We should add that posts are typically inspected once every five years, although that five year gap doesn’t seem to be happening anywhere anymore.
The thing though– State/OIG only inspects a small portion of overseas posts every year. We know this post is not a unique case but for posts not inspected earlier this year, whatever happened in the previous 2-3 years will be stale bread except in government corridors and nightmares.
At the time of the inspection, Embassy Reykjavik’s authorized staff included 16 U.S. direct hire staff (including 3 who worked for DOD), 55 locally employed (LE) staff, and 1 eligible family member.
Via State/OIG:

(U) The Chargé d’Affaires, ad interim (Chargé), a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, arrived at Embassy Reykjavik for a temporary duty assignment on January 24, 2021, 4 days after the departure of the former Ambassador. Previously, the Chargé served as Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) at the U.S. Mission to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe from 2017 to 2020, serving as Chargé and acting Representative for the first 2 years. His career also included tours of duty as the Deputy Executive Secretary of the Department and Director of the Department’s Operations Center.
(U) Embassy Leadership Focused on Rebuilding Staff Morale and Normalizing Embassy Operations

(U) OIG found that the Chargé and DCM were focused on rebuilding staff morale and normalizing embassy operations following the former Ambassador’s tenure, a noncareer appointee who served from June 2019 to January 2021. Despite several months having elapsed since his departure, OIG found at the time of the inspection that embassy staff were still recovering from what they described as a threatening and intimidating environment created by the former Ambassador. For example, staff reported to OIG multiple instances in which the former Ambassador had threatened to sue Department officials and embassy staff who expressed disagreement with him, questioned his wishes, or were perceived to be “disloyal” to him. In addition, many employees reported to OIG that the former Ambassador threatened reprisal against employees who communicated with Department officials in Washington while conducting their official duties.

(U) During the inspection, OIG found that the Chargé and DCM were modeling leadership and management principles in 3 Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM) 1214 to establish a positive, inclusive, and supportive tone for the embassy. In interviews and questionnaires, embassy staff consistently noted the positive and supportive work environment the Chargé and the DCM fostered, following the departure of the former Ambassador. Staff cited the leadership team’s care and support for both U.S. direct-hire and LE staff, their open and inclusive approach, and empowerment of and trust in staff members to do their jobs, consistent with 3 FAM 1214b. For example, the Chargé held a town hall on his first day emphasizing a return to normal operations. In addition, the DCM contacted the Regional Medical Officer/Psychologist, based in London, to help assess morale and develop actions to address employee concerns. 4

(U) Execution of Foreign Policy Goals and Objectives (U) At the time of the inspection, OIG found the embassy was focused on rebuilding its relationship with the Government of Iceland following a deterioration of that relationship under the former Ambassador, which became so strained at one point during his tenure that the then-Undersecretary for Political Affairs instructed the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs (EUR) to work directly with the Icelandic Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ensure proper management of the bilateral relationship. This action attempted to mitigate the negative impact of the former Ambassador’s frequent failure to respect diplomatic protocol or to coordinate with the Icelandic Government on policy initiatives and press statements touching on sensitive defense-related subjects. For example, the former Ambassador’s post on the embassy’s Facebook page indicated that the United States was investing more than $170 million on various projects and programs in Iceland, as part of a long-term plan to strengthen U.S.-Icelandic cooperation. This and other uncoordinated statements by the former Ambassador generated public controversy in Iceland.

(U) Upon his arrival in January 2021, the Chargé met with senior government officials to improve the diplomatic engagement between the embassy and the Icelandic Government, consistent with his responsibilities under 3 FAM 1427 and 2 FAM 111.1-2 to promote cordial relations with the host country. OIG noted that the public statements issued by senior Icelandic Government officials, both when the Chargé arrived and following his introductory meetings with senior government officials, reflected the host government’s appreciation for the restoration of respect for diplomatic protocol and procedure in the embassy’s conduct of the bilateral relationship.
(U) Local Compensation Plan Did Not Comply With Icelandic Labor Law (U) The embassy’s local compensation plan21 did not fully reflect Icelandic prevailing wage rates and compensation practices, as required by 3 FAM 7512.3. Specifically, the local compensation plan did not follow the collective bargaining agreement22 applicable to Icelandic employees regarding the standard work week, annual leave, the transfer of leave rights between employers, and standby shift rates. In addition, OIG found that the embassy had not provided annual increases in the summer and winter and salary supplements since 2009 despite these benefits being required by the collective bargaining agreement. Standards in 3 FAH-2 H131.3a(1) require embassies to implement a local compensation plan and review it at least annually. OIG found the embassy told the Bureau of Global Talent Management’s Office of Overseas Employment (GTM/OE) of its concerns with the local compensation plan in its 2019 Local Compensation Questionnaire submission.23
(U) Embassy Did Not Conduct Seismic Evaluations for Leased Residences (U) Embassy Reykjavik did not conduct seismic safety assessments for 11 of its 15 leased residential units, as required by Department standards. The Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) lists Iceland in zone 4, which is considered a very high seismic zone. In 2018, OBO performed a seismic assessment of the embassy’s residences. This report was delivered to Embassy Reykjavik in November 2020. The embassy has since replaced 11 residences, none of which have been assessed by an OBO-approved structural engineer, as required in 15 FAM 252.6f. According to embassy staff, the embassy did not take immediate action in November 2020 due to other priorities assigned by the former Ambassador. The embassy liaised with OBO on establishing a local contract for seismic assessments but had not completed the work by the end of the inspection. Leasing properties without performing seismic safety assessments poses significant risk to the life and safety of occupants.


Snapshot: PP9645 and PP9983 – Affected Nationalities, Nonimmigrant and Immigrant Visas


On January 20, 2021, President Biden signed a Presidential Proclamation (P.P. 10141) titled “Ending Discriminatory Bans on Entry to the United States.”  This proclamation ended the travel restrictions under Presidential Proclamations 9645 and 9983 under Trump and directed the State Department to pursue the processing of visa applications for individuals from affected countries consistent with applicable law and visa processing procedures.  Guidance on State’s implementation of P.P. 10141 can be found here. Pursuant to President Biden’s Proclamation, the visa restrictions under Proclamations 9645 and 9983 are no longer applicable.
Below is a CA report on the affected nationalities for both nonimmigrant and immigrant visas from December 8, 2017 t0 January 20, 2021. The full report is available here.


Court Orders @StateDept to “Undertake Good-Faith Efforts” on Diversity Visa Processing by 9/30/21


Via travel.state.gov
On September 9, 2021, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia preliminarily enjoined the Department of State from applying the November 2020 prioritization policy guidance to diversity visa (“DV”) 2021 applicants and ordered the Department to undertake good-faith efforts to expeditiously process DV applications (including derivative beneficiaries) by September 30, 2021.  The court stated that the Department may not rely on the November 2020 prioritization guidance to “foreclose or prohibit embassy personnel, consular officers, or any administrative processing center (such as the KCC) from processing, reviewing, or adjudicating a 2021 diversity visa or derivative beneficiary application” and clarified that the order “does not affect the prioritization scheme as to any other visa category or in any other respect.”  The court further explained the order “does not prevent any embassy personnel, consular officer, or administrative processing center from prioritizing the processing, adjudication, or issuance of visas based on resource constraints, limitations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, or country conditions.”
In accordance with the order, the Department of State has instructed consular sections to make every effort within their discretion and subject to posts’ resource constraints, limitations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and country conditions to prioritize the scheduling and adjudication of additional DV-2021 cases by September 30, 2021.  It is important to note that the court did not order the Department to “prioritize DV-2021 applications over other visa applications.”  The court also did not order the Department to prioritize the adjudication of DV-2021 applications of plaintiffs who have sued the Department over the DV-2021 applications of non-plaintiffs.  The court further said that posts do not have to “drop everything and process DV-2021 applications.”
In accordance with the requirements in the Immigration and Nationality Act and applicable regulations, DV cases will continue to be processed in rank order as required by law, and applicants must be documentarily qualified, have paid all requisite application fees, be able to obtain the required medical exam by a panel physician, and demonstrate that they are eligible for a visa before visa issuance.  DV-2021 applicants may be issued a visa through the end of the fiscal year, on or before September 30, 2021.
If a consular section has the capacity to schedule your DV-2021 case, you will receive a notification by email to check the Entrant Status Check site.  Many diversity visa processing posts are getting emails directly from diversity visa applicants.  The Department has instructed posts to respond to those general inquiries about the September 9th Order and DV-2021 processing with the following message:  We are aware of the court order dated September 9, 2021 from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia regarding the 2021 diversity visa (“DV”) program.  In accordance with that order, post is making good-faith efforts to expeditiously process DV applications (including derivative beneficiaries) by September 30, 2021.  We will continue to process DV cases in rank order as required by law, subject to our resource constraints, limitations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and country conditions.  If post has the capacity to schedule your case, you will receive a notification by email to check the Entrant Status Check site.”
See GOH et al v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE et al




US Mission Brazil: Ambassador Todd Chapman Tenders Resignation, to Retire From @StateDept

Thank you to over 500 readers and supporters who made our continued operation possible this year. Raising funds for a small outlet that is already open and free for all to read has often been the most challenging part of running  this blog. We are grateful for your continued support and well wishes. Thanks — DS


On June 10, the U.S. Ambassador to Brazil Todd C. Chapman announced that he informed President Biden of his decision “to retire from government service after a 30-year career with the Department of State.” Excerpt:

“Following careful consideration, my wife Janetta and I are convinced that this is the right time, for several positive personal reasons, to move to Denver, Colorado – to live closer to our two sons and daughter-in-law and pursue new professional opportunities and longstanding personal interests about which we are genuinely excited.
In my letter to President Biden, I wished him God’s blessings of wisdom and strength as he leads the American people. May the strong friendship between the American and Brazilian people continue to flourish in the years ahead, a task to which I will remain devoted for the rest of my life.”

Ambassador Chapman was nominated by President Trump on October 30, 2019. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on February 20, 2020 and arrived in Brazil on March 29, 2020. Ambassador Chapman previously served as President Obama’s Ambassador to Ecuador from 2016 – 2019.

Related news:

Oh, Helsinki! Florida Man Sends Warmest Regards to Putin, ‘Swagger’ Guy Preens About Russia Record

13 Going on 14 — GFM: https://gofund.me/32671a27


President Biden will be in Brussels, Belgium for the NATO Summit on June 14, and the U.S.–EU Summit on June 15. He will travel to Geneva, Switzerland on June 16 for a bilateral summit with Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin.
On June 10, the former president released a statement remembering fondly his meeting with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. We remember the bonkers press conference. Florida man also sent his “warmest regards” to Vlad. Over the weekend, the former secretary of state went on teevee and gaslighted everyone on the former administration’s record on Russia.  What hell-arious daymares we have!




Ex-Ambo Gordon Sonland Sues Ex-SecState Pompeo, U.S. for $1.8M Impeachment Bills #Popcorn

13 Going on 14 — GFM: https://gofund.me/32671a27




Ex-@StateDept Staffer Charged in 1/6 Insurrection to Remain in Custody Pending Trial

On March 4, former political appointee at the State Department Federico Klein was arrested in connection with the January 6 insurrection (see Three Current/Former @StateDept Employees Float to the Top in Crowded Bad News Cycle).  Klein is really going to be unhappy with his continued accommodations at the D.C. jail. On March 9 the DOJ filed its memo in support of pre-trial detention and the judge agreed to keep him in custody. Excerpt below from the pre-trial detention memo:
The dangerousness of Klein’s participation in the mob that day is only heightened by the fact that, at that time, he was an employee of the Department of State, with an obligation to uphold the Constitution. By law, federal employees are required to take an oath of office, swearing to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic…” 5 U.S.C. § 3331. Presumably, Klein took that same oath of office when he entered federal employment. Despite his oath to support and defend the Constitution, Klein demonstrated his contempt for that oath, the legitimate functions of the government, and for the Constitution itself when he assaulted officers in an attempt to stop the certification of a lawful election. By his actions on January 6, 2021, Klein abdicated his responsibilities to the country and the Constitution. Despite the trust the country and government placed in Klein’s character, stability, trustworthiness, reliability, discretion, honesty, judgment, and unquestionable loyalty to the United States,5 Klein’s behavior revealed that his true allegiance lies elsewhere. Rather, Klein’s actions established that his own personal beliefs override the rule of law and that he will use violence in an attempt to halt the legitimate functions of the United States government with which he disagrees. Such blatant disregard of the law and the authority of a lawful government, along with his indifference to keeping his own commitments – even when made under oath – weigh in favor of detention. If Klein is unwilling to obey orders while in full view of law enforcement, or to conform his behavior to the law even when he disagrees with it, despite his oath to the Constitution, it is unlikely that he would adhere to this Court’s directions and release orders.
The criminal complaint dated March 2, 2021 charged Klein with the following:
18 U.S.C. § 1752(a)(1) – Knowingly Entering or Remaining in any Restricted Building or Grounds Without Lawful Authority,
40 U.S.C. § 5104(e)(2) – Violent Entry and Disorderly Conduct on Capitol Grounds,
18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2) – Obstruction of Justice/Congress,
18 U.S.C. § 231(a)(3) – Obstruction of Law Enforcement During Civil Disorder,
18 U.S.C. § 111(a)(1) – Assaulting, Resisting, or Impeding Certain Officers,
18 U.S.C. § 111(b) – Assaulting, Resisting, or Impeding Certain Officers Using a Dangerous Weapon


Forty-Four Blind Mice on the Senate Floor

Note: This week feels like reliving the nightmare of January 6 but one could not just look away. It was a close call. Closer than we ever imagined. It was more than just an attack of the Capitol, it was an assault on our democracy. And forty-four senators want to just look away, hide under their desks and not have to deal with the insurrection that killed five people, wounded many, and could have resulted in the deaths of so many more. So I wrote the piece below for these blind mice disgracing the Senate floor.

–Domani Spero


Forty-Four Blind Mice on the Senate Floor

Day 1 of the Second Trump Impeachment Trial


The “world’s greatest deliberative body”
Is now the world’s most cowardly one.
The most cowardly one for all to see.
Lookit! Except Sasse, Toomey, Cassidy
Also Collins, Romney, and Murkowski.
Poor senators like three blind mice
Three blind ones times fourteen plus two.
Watch them willfully go blind, go blind
In the service of self, not country.
In a chamber still fresh from that mad kind.
See how they run. See how run.
Who cut off their spines with a carving knife?
Have you ever see such a sad sight in your life
As forty-four blind mice on the Senate floor?
–February 9, 2021