Kushner-Connected Businessman Andrew Gellert to be U.S. Ambassador to Chile

Posted: 1:41 am ET

 

On January 4, the White House announced the President’s intent to nominate prominent American businessman Andrew Gellert to be the next U.S. Ambassador to Chile. The WH released the following brief bio:

Andrew Gellert of New Jersey, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Chile. Mr. Gellert, President of Gellert Global Group in Elizabeth, New Jersey, is a prominent American businessman.  He leads an enterprise consisting of many North American food importing companies, including Atalanta Corporation, the largest privately held food importer in the United States.  He has served as Chairman of the Association of Food Industries (AFI), which is part of a coalition of food importing associations pursuing the mutual trade interests of overseas suppliers and United States importers before the FDA, and within the food legislation arena.  In addition, he is a member of the Young Presidents Organization and a Board member of the Elizabeth Development Corporation.  Mr. Gellert earned a B.S. from Cornell University.

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A quick search of the Federal Election Commission database indicates modest contributions mostly to Democratic candidates in years past including to Al Gore, Chuck Schumer, Bob Menendez, even Hillary Clinton in 2003.

Andrew Gellert is listed on his company’s website as: “President of the Gellert Global Group joined Atalanta a year after graduation from Cornell in 1989 and currently serves as Treasurer of Atalanta Corporation and Senior Vice President of Camerican International, where he developed the Company’s successful juice division” (also see Atalanta Corp.: Around the World in 70 Years).

According to its website, the Gellert Global Group is partners in numerous real estate ventures with The Kushner Companies.  According to Bloomberg, the Gellert family, headed by patriarch George Gellert, is also a close friend of Charles Kushner and that Gellert is “a co-guarantor of the Kushners’ debts at 666 Fifth Avenue, loan documents show.” (See Kushners’ New York City Buildings Are Mostly Owned By Others). 

So it looks like the WH must have now accepted the traditional resignation submitted by our Ambassador to Chile on January 20, 2017 and now wants a non-career appointee to be its top representative in the country.

If confirmed, Mr. Gellert would succeed career diplomat Carol Perez who was confirmed as U.S. Ambassador to Chile in July 2016. Tenures for career diplomats on chief of mission positions (with few exceptions) are typically for three years. Of course, it should be noted that appointees also serve at the pleasure of the president, and can be replaced at any time during their tenure.

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Senate Confirmations: Hall, Silverman, Perez, Pyatt, Silliman, Yovanovitch

Posted: 1:57 am ET
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On July 14, the U.S. Senate confirmed the following executive nominations

2016-07-14 PN1264 Lithuania Anne Hall, of Maine, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Lithuania.

2016-07-14 PN1374 Kuwait | Lawrence Robert Silverman, of Massachusetts, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the State of Kuwait.

2016-07-14 PN1423 Chile | Carol Z. Perez, of Virginia, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Chile.

2016-07-14 PN1491 Greece | Geoffrey R. Pyatt, of California, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Greece.

2016-07-14 PN1492 Iraq | Douglas Alan Silliman, of Texas, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Iraq.

2016-07-14 PN1493 Ukraine | Marie L. Yovanovitch, of Connecticut, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Ukraine.

The following nominees remain pending on the Senate’s Executive Calendar:

STATE DEPARTMENT

Amos J. Hochstein, of the District of Columbia, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Energy Resources), vice John Stern Wolf.  Mar 10, 2016 Reported by Mr. Corker, Committee on Foreign Relations, without printed report.

Peter Michael McKinley, of Virginia, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Federative Republic of Brazil.  Jul 14, 2016 Reported by Mr. Corker, Committee on Foreign Relations, without printed report.

OVERSEAS PRIVATE INVESTMENT CORPORATION

Nelson Reyneri, of Washington, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation for a term expiring December 17, 2018, vice Matthew Maxwell Taylor Kennedy, term expired.  Jun 23, 2016 Placed on the Calendar pursuant to S.Res. 116, 112th Congress.

UNITED STATES ADVISORY COMMISSION ON PUBLIC DIPLOMACY

Douglas Barry Wilson, of Delaware, to be a Member of the United States Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy for a term expiring July 1, 2017, vice Elizabeth F. Bagley, term expired. Jun 10, 2016 Placed on the Calendar pursuant to S.Res. 116, 112th Congress.

EUROPEAN BANK FOR RECONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT

Catherine Ann Novelli, of Virginia, to be United States Alternate Governor of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vice Robert D. Hormats, resigned.  Mar 10, 2016 Reported by Mr. Corker, Committee on Foreign Relations, without printed report.

INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND

Janet L. Yellen, of California, to be United States Alternate Governor of the International Monetary Fund for a term of five years, vice Ben S. Bernanke, term expired.  Jun 25, 2015 Reported by Mr. Corker, Committee on Foreign Relations, without printed report.

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Pro-ISIS Hackers Post Alleged “Kill” List With 43 Names Including @StateDept Names

Updated: 2:58 am ET
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In August last year, we blogged about the Purported ISIS ‘Hit List’ With 1,482 Targets including State Department names. Now, according to  Vocativ, hackers with a pro-ISIS group calling themselves the United Cyber Caliphate have distributed a “kill” list on Monday that appears to include dozens of U.S. government personnel.

The list features 43 names of people linked to the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security and the departments of defense, energy, commerce and health and services. It also identifies the U.S. embassies in Santiago and Kathmandu—as well as the Department of the Navy in Gulfport, Mississippi—as targets.

The purported “hit list” last year reportedly included personnel data of more than 1,482 members of the U.S. military, NASA, the FBI, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and the State Department.  Technology security expert, Troy Hunt,  wrote at that time that “nothing makes headlines like a combination of ISIS / hackers / terrorism!” and had taken a closer look with an analysis here.  How many of these names are from “pastes” that have been reproduced or recycled or new? Whatever the answer, this is a trend that will probably continue into the foreseeable future. Reports like this should be a periodic reminder to review your/your family members privacy settings and digital footprint regularly.

 

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Introducing Mike Hammer — No, Not Mickey Spillane’s, Esto Se Habla Español

— Domani Spero

Via State/IIP

“Este vídeo ha sido producido por la Oficina de Programas de Información Internacional del Departamento de Estado de Estados Unidos en marzo de 2014. En él se presenta el embajador de Estados Unidos en Chile, Mike Hammer.”

Ambassador Hammer is a career member of the U.S. Senior Foreign Service and entered the diplomatic corps in 1988. He has served abroad in Bolivia, Norway, Iceland and Denmark. In the Department he is known as “Mike” and has served in the Operations Center and as special assistant to the Under Secretary for Political Affairs. He has received several awards in his career, including the Department’s Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Public Diplomacy.  He is fluent in Spanish and speaks French and Icelandic.

He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in early March just in time to be at post during Vice President Biden’s official visit to Chile.

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Snapshot: Visa Waiver Program Countries as of February 2014

Under the visa waiver program (VWP), the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, may waive the “B” nonimmigrant visa requirement for aliens traveling from certain countries as temporary visitors for business or pleasure (tourists). Nationals from participating countries must use the web-based Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) to get an approved electronic travel authorization before embarking to the United States, and are admitted into the United States for up to 90 days. The VWP constitutes one of a few exceptions under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) in which foreign nationals are admitted into the United States without a valid visa. As of January 2014, 37 countries participate in the VWP.

Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei,  Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Monaco, Malta, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom.

CRS: Visa Waiver Program, February 12, 2014

Now includes 38 countries. On February 28, 2014, Secretary Jeh Johnson announced the designation of Chile into the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).  Starting May 1, 2014, eligible Chilean passport holders with both an approved Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) and an e-passport will be able to visit the United States without nonimmigrant visitor visas.

Read more here.

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Senate Confirmations: Rose Gottemoeller to State/T; Michael Hammer to Chile

— Domani Spero

On March 6, the U.S. Senate confirmed a couple of executive nominations for the State Department:

Rose Eilene Gottemoeller of Virginia, to be Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security; Confirmed: 58-42

Secretary Clinton announced on February 7, 2012 that President Obama has designated Rose Gottemoeller as the Acting Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security (T).  As Acting Under Secretary she  also remained in her role as Assistant Secretary for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance (AVC).  She was sworn in as the Assistant Secretary of State for State/AVC on April 6, 2009. She was the chief U.S. negotiator of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) with the Russian Federation, which entered into force on February 5, 2011.  Ms. Gottemoeller received a B.S. from Georgetown University, and a M.A. from George Washington University. She is fluent in Russian.

Photo via @Gottemoeller

Photo via @Gottemoeller

Michael A. Hammer, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Chile; Confirmed by voice vote.

Ambassador Hammer is a career member of the United States Senior Foreign Service. He previously served as the Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs from March 2012 to August 2013.  He also served as Acting Assistant Secretary and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs.  Ambassador Hammer grew up in Latin America, living in Honduras, El Salvador, Colombia, Venezuela, and Brazil.  He is fluent in Spanish and speaks French and Icelandic.  Ambassador Hammer and his wife Margret Bjorgulfsdottir have three children.

Screen Shot 2014-02-06

Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Mike Hammer dons
a funny hat and hams it up with students after taking their questions
during the “Mock Reporter” activity.
Photo by Bill Palmer | State Department
(State Magazine, June 2013)

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