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Secretary of State John Kerry together with former Secretaries of State Madeleine K. Albright, Colin L. Powell, and Hillary Rodham Clinton marked the completion of the U.S. Diplomacy Center Pavilion located at the State Department’s 21st Street Entrance on January 10 with a well-attended reception.
The U.S. Diplomacy Center (@DiplomacyCenter) will be a 40,000 square foot, state-of-the-art museum and education center dedicated to telling the story of American diplomacy. Visitors will explore the role of diplomacy through interactive exhibits, compelling artifacts, hands-on education programs, and diplomatic simulations. The Center’s goal is “to demonstrate the ways in which diplomacy matters now and has mattered throughout American history. Diplomacy and the work of our diplomats in over 250 embassies, consulates, and other diplomatic missions are vital to our nation’s power, image, and ability to advance its interests around the globe.”
The funds used for this project? The Department of State has a public-private partnership with the Diplomacy Center Foundation (DCF), founded by the late Senator Charles McC. Mathias, Ambassador Stephen Low and others. The costs for the construction of the museum and the fabrication of the exhibits are raised through a private sector capital campaign. The Department of State contributes space, staff and security for the Center. Taxpayers will not be paying for building the USDC; the center makes up less than .003% of the Department of State’s annual budget.
Here is a bit of history on the Center via the Foundation:
Foreign Service Ambassador Stephen Low (1927 — 2010) and Senator Charles “Mac” Mathias, R-MD (1922-2010) formed the Foreign Affairs Museum Council (FAMC), a nonprofit organization, to help build the first facility dedicated to American diplomacy in the United States and to raise funds from the private sector for the project. In 2013 the FAMC Board of Directors changed the name to Diplomacy Center Foundation. […] In 1999, Ambassador Low and Senator Mathias met with Secretary Madeleine K. Albright about their vision for a museum and education center of American diplomacy. Secretary Albright recognized the need and decreed that the museum should be located at the Department of State.
In 2010, Secretary Clinton appointed Elizabeth Frawley Bagley, Ambassador to Portugal, retired, to lead the fund-raising efforts on behalf of the Department. Simultaneously, the leadership of the Foreign Affairs Museum Council was assumed by William C. Harrop, a career Foreign Service Officer who had served as United States Ambassador to five countries. To date, $47.5 million of private sector funds have been raised from corporations, foundation and individuals toward the $55 million needed to build the Center. Under this new Pavilion will be the Founding Ambassadors Concourse where educational conferences, symposia and other USDC events will take place. The Founding Ambassadors initiative is led by Stuart A. Bernstein, Ambassador to Denmark, retired.
Posted: 12:44 am EDT
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In 1976, Henry Kissinger apparently left the State Department with records of his telcons, along with his memcons and office files, at the conclusion of his tenure as the 56th Secretary of State. The National Security Archive in 2001 filed a legal complaint directed at the State Department and the National Archives “for abdicating their duty under the Federal Records Act to recover the Kissinger documents, which were produced on government time with government resources.” In March 2015, the National Security Archive again filed suit against the State Department under the Freedom of Information Act to force the release of the last 700 transcripts of Kissinger’s telephone calls (telcons). The Archive’s appeal of State’s withholding dates back to 2007. State has apparently claimed they were “pre-decisional” or covered by executive privilege — claims that the Archive says “should long since have expired in the case of 40-year-old records.”
In 2013, 67th did not have to removed her record emails since they were not even in the State Department systems. Meanwhile, the State Department will be tied up in multiple civil litigations related to these damn emails until 2055.
In any case, Congress is on it! No one will be able to do this ever again. No one, that is, until the next secretary of state maybe in 2028 … and it’ll be for something similar to the telephones, or emails, but different; perhaps out of a new technology that is yet to be invented… records retention for lifelogging or mindprinting, anyone?
Well, here is what Congress did for now. A section of the ‘‘Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016’’ which became Public Law No: 114-113 on December 18, 2015 includes the following item on Records Management with funding restrictions on the use of email accounts and email servers created outside the .gov domain, a requirement for records management reports from both the State Department and USAID within 30 days, and a provision for withholding $10,000,000 from the “Capital Investment Fund” until the reports required are submitted to Congress.
(1) LIMITATION AND DIRECTIVES.—
(A) None of the funds appropriated by this Act under the headings “Diplomatic and Consular Programs” and “Capital Investment Fund” in title I, and “Operating Expenses” in title II that are made available to the Department of State and USAID may be made available to support the use or establishment of email accounts or email servers created outside the .gov domain or not fitted for automated records management as part of a Federal government records management program in contravention of the Presidential and Federal Records Act Amendments of 2014 (Public Law 113–187).
(B) The Secretary of State and USAID Administrator shall—
(i) update the policies, directives, and oversight necessary to comply with Federal statutes, regulations, and presidential executive orders and memoranda concerning the preservation of all records made or received in the conduct of official business, including record emails, instant messaging, and other online tools;
(ii) use funds appropriated by this Act under the headings “Diplomatic and Consular Programs” and “Capital Investment Fund” in title I, and “Operating Expenses” in title II, as appropriate, to improve Federal records management pursuant to the Federal Records Act (44 U.S.C. Chapters 21, 29, 31, and 33) and other applicable Federal records management statutes, regulations, or policies for the Department of State and USAID;
(iii) direct departing employees that all Federal records generated by such employees, including senior officials, belong to the Federal Government; and
(iv) measurably improve the response time for identifying and retrieving Federal records.
(2) REPORT.—Not later than 30 days after enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State and USAID Administrator shall each submit a report to the Committees on Appropriations and to the National Archives and Records Administration detailing, as appropriate and where applicable—
(A) the policy of each agency regarding the use or the establishment of email accounts or email servers created outside the .gov domain or not fitted for automated records management as part of a Federal government records management program;
(B) the extent to which each agency is in compliance with applicable Federal records management statutes, regulations, and policies; and
(C) the steps required, including steps already taken, and the associated costs, to—
(i) comply with paragraph (1)(B) of this subsection;
(ii) ensure that all employees at every level have been instructed in procedures and processes to ensure that the documentation of their official duties is captured, preserved, managed, protected, and accessible in official Government systems of the Department of State and USAID;
(iii) implement the recommendations of the Office of Inspector General, United States Department of State (OIG), in the March 2015 Review of State Messaging and Archive Retrieval Toolset and Record Email (ISP–1–15–15) and any recommendations from the OIG review of the records management practices of the Department of State requested by the Secretary on March 25, 2015, if completed;
(iv) reduce the backlog of Freedom of Information Act and Congressional oversight requests, and measurably improve the response time for answering such requests;
(v) strengthen cyber security measures to mitigate vulnerabilities, including those resulting from the use of personal email accounts or servers outside the .gov domain; and
(vi) codify in the Foreign Affairs Manual and Automated Directives System the updates referenced in paragraph (1)(B) of this subsection, where appropriate.
(3) REPORT ASSESSMENT.—Not later than 180 days after the submission of the reports required by paragraph (2), the Comptroller General of the United States, in consultation with National Archives and Records Administration, as appropriate, shall conduct an assessment of such reports, and shall consult with the Committees on Appropriations on the scope and requirements of such assessment.
(4) FUNDING.—Of funds appropriated by this Act under the heading “Capital Investment Fund” in title I, $10,000,000 shall be withheld from obligation until the Secretary submits the report required by paragraph (2).
You gotta do what you gotta do, now for some laughs via SNL:
CNN reports that Major Bradley Podliska, an intelligence officer in the Air Force Reserve who describes himself as a conservative Republican, told CNN that the committee trained its sights almost exclusively on Clinton after the revelation last March that she used a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state. Podliska served nearly 10 months on the committee before he was fired in late June. According to CNN, Podliska plans to file the lawsuit next month after a 30-day mediation phase required under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act passes. The spokesperson for the House Select Committee for Benghazi has released a 5-paragaraph statement in response to the ex-staffer’s allegation.
Major Bradley Podliska’s exclusive TV interview with CNN will air Sunday at 9 a.m. on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Updated, PowerPoint as obsession:
EXCLUSIVE: Chairman of Benghazi committee rejects fired staffer’s claim of targeting H Clinton, says staffer obsessed http://t.co/clDQycr8hG
Posted: 12:40 am EDT
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On July 22, The Hill reported that the Gowdy committee investigating the 2012 Benghazi attacks announced it has called on one of Secretary of State John Kerry’s top aides to appear this week. The panel apparently wanted Jon Finer, Kerry’s chief of staff, to appear on July 29th to discuss the State Department’s compliance with the panel’s investigation.
Late on July 27, The Hill reported that the State Department has agreed to release 5,000 pages of documents to the House Select Committee on Benghazi tomorrow, July 28. This document release temporarily cancels Mr. Finer’s appearance before the panel but chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) has not ruled out any future appearance.
The new document dump comes after a standoff between the State Department and the House panel, which had previously ordered a top aide to Secretary of State John Kerry to testify on Wednesday.
After the department committed to releasing the 5,000 new pages to the committee, the hearing with that aide — Kerry’s chief of staff, Jon Finer — will be postponed until after Kerry has completed a marathon string of briefings and hearings to sell the international nuclear deal with Iran.
“If the State Department does not fulfill this production, or if production continues to be anemic and underwhelming, we will move forward with scheduling a compliance hearing before the committee,” he added.
The Hill State Dept to release 5,000 pages to Benghazi panel: The State Department has agreed to release 5,000… http://t.co/Rq0Cb88AHq
The New York Times also posted the letter from the former secretary of state’s lawyer David E. Kendall to House Chairman Trey Gowdy. Excerpt below:
There is no basis to support the proposed third-party review of the server that hosted the email@example.com account. During the fall of 2014, Secretary Clinton’s legal representatives reviewed her firstname.lastname@example.org account for the time period from January 21, 2009 through February 1, 2013. After the review was completed to identify and provide to the Department of State all of the Secretary’s work-related and potentially work-related emails, the Secretary chose not to keep her non-record personal e-mails and asked that her account (which was no longer in active use) be set to retain only the most recent 60 days of e-mail. To avoid prolonging a discussion that would be academic, I have confirmed with the Secretary’s IT support that no e-mails from email@example.com for the time period January 21, 2009 through February 1, 2013 reside on the server or on any back-up systems associated with the server.
Page 8 of this 9-page document includes a letter from the State Department’s Under Secretary for Management Patrick Kennedy:
We understand that Secretary Clinton would like to continue to retain copies of the documents to assist her in responding to congressional and related inquiries regarding the documents and her tenure as head of the Department. The Department has consulted with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and believes that permitting Secretary Clinton continued access to the documents is in the public interest as it will help promote informed discussion.
Accordingly, Secretary Clinton may retain copies of the documents provided that: access is limited to Secretary Clinton and those directly assisting her in responding to such inquiries; steps are taken to safeguard the documents against loss or unauthorized access; the documents are not released without written authorization by the Department; and there is agreement to return the documents to the Department upon request. Additionally, following counsel, we ask that, to the extent the documents are stored electronically, they continue to be preserved in their electronic format. In the event that State Department reviewers determine that any document or documents is/are classified, additional steps will be required to safeguard and protect the information.
The entire Kendall-Gowdy letter is available to read here.
Because it’s Friday, there is also this item from Gawker and ProPublica adding a stranger twist to this email saga.
Secret spy network funneled intelligence about crisis in Libya directly to Sec State Clinton’s private email account http://t.co/eMHBfYpV4y — ChrisHerter’s BowTie (@ColdWarBowTie) March 27, 2015
In related news, remember when Michael Schmidt broke the NYT story about Secretary Clinton’s exclusive use of a personal email account during her entire tenure as Secretary of State? That was on March 2. On March 25, Secretary Kerry finally asked the Office of Inspector General to review email and record retention at his agency. The letter Secretary Kerry sent to IG Steve Linick is available to read here (pdf).
Kerry asks IG for review of State’s email & records policies, but does not seek specific focus on Clinton’s practices http://t.co/1Lvtv2Vy06
Update on 5/7/14: Names of a few more special envoys during the Albright era added.
We were looking into mushrooms one day (problematic backyard lawn) and stumbled upon “The cleverness of mushrooms.” The article says that “exactly how mushrooms proliferate is still poorly understood.” Hey, we thought — isn’t that kind of the same thing when it comes to special advisors, special envoys and special representatives proliferating inside the State Department?
Dr. Howard Wolpe, Special Envoy of the President and the Secretary of State to the Burundi peace negotiations, then Special Envoy of the President and Secretary of State to Africa’s Great Lakes region.
Amb Paul Hare, Special Representative to the Angolan Peace Process, 1993-2001
Also, according to state.gov’s archive, there were fourteen senior folks including “Special Envoys” and “Special Representatives” at the State Department from 2001-2009 encompassing the tenure of Secretary Colin Powell (2001-2005) and Secretary Condoleezza Rice (2005-2009).
During Secretary Hillary Clinton’stenure (2009-2013) and presently under Secretary Kerry, the number of these special folks has grown by quite a bit. In six years, the State Department went from 14 special folks to something like four dozens. It is quite possible that there are more special and senior folks whose appointments/new desks have not yet made it to the official website. The number of senior advisors as opposed to the special advisors is even more difficult to find.
And by the way, we noticed that Special Advisor for Secretary’s Initiative Elizabeth Bagley was appointed on April 20, 2011. According to state.gov, her term of appointment is 04/20/2011 to present. Currently her bio page says“The biography for Special Adviser for Secretary Initiatives Elizabeth Bagley will be posted when available.”
screen shot state.gov
You wait, and wait, and wait …. and nothing happens in three years like what, a turtle carrying the bio page is still circumnavigating the globe to get to Foggy Bottom?
We should note that while it was widely reported last year that the Gitmo Closure office had also been shuttered, Ambassador Daniel Fried was actually succeeded as Special Envoy for Guantanamo Closure by Clifford M. Sloan, an attorney who previously served as Publisher of Slate Magazine and as a General Counsel at The Washington Post Company. Ambassador Fried is now the State Department’s Coordinator for Sanctions Policy.
In any case, here they are, the State Department’s Special Advisors, Special Envoys, and Special Representatives:
In 2016, if you don’t want to compete for the ambassadorial sweeps, don’t forget these gigs. These positions are not advertised through usajobs.gov and more importantly, these jobs do not/do not require senate confirmations.
TSB over at The Skeptical Bureaucratnoticed the words being bandied about in the post-Benghazi bureaucratic world:
“Going forward” was the phrase we heard over and over at last month’s hearings. Will embassy security get better “going forward” after Benghazi? Will any real improvements come out of that disaster?
According to Hillary’s letter to Congress, the Department will now prioritize resources on a list of about twenty specially designated high threat posts. All well and good. But, if the next attack happens at one of those posts, will we then blame middle managers in an office annex in Rosslyn for not having sent more money and manpower to High Threat Post A and less to HT Posts B and C? And if the next attack happens at one of the 250 or so other diplomatic missions in the world, will we blame the same managers for not having upgraded Post D to the high threat group? And won’t every post in the world request every security measure it can think of “going forward” after Benghazi? Yes, yes, and yes. We can prioritize by risk, or we can cover our bureaucratic asses by spreading resources around evenly, but we can’t do both at the same time.
By the way, what’s up with that very odd term being used to describe those posts of special concern? High threat posts? As Diplopundit has noted, they are not literally the Department’s high threat level posts, and the criteria for designating them has not been explained, so far as I know. The ARB used the phrase “high risk/high threat” posts but that’s no better, not to mention kind of incoherent if you are a stickler for risk management definitions, since “threat” is only a component of “risk.”
Why isn’t the Department using the perfectly good term “Special Conditions” posts? That’s already an established category of diplomatic post with its own special rules for applying security standards and providing resources under extreme conditions. You can find it in 12 FAM 057.3, which the department has made publicly available here. That would be a step forward in terms of clarity, at least.
You betcha every post in the world will have their requests down in bold, dark ink. Especially, if they are a designated danger post but not on the newly designated “high threat” list. Then the somebodies will be on record approving or denying such and such request. But you know, the request was on record when Ambassador Bushnell made her request on behalf of the US Embassy in Nairobi. And there were paper trails and sworn testimonies concerning the requests made for the security in Benghazi. Yeah. A lot of good it did them.
The other thing we’ve been thinking about on that high threat designation — surely, the people who are intent on doing our people harm are not totally dumb. Given the opportunity to attack – would they really expend more efforts on those US diplomatic posts already considered “high threat” (what with the accompanying spending for fortifying/protecting those posts)? If you were in their shoes, wouldn’t you attack targets that are not on those “high threat” list? Because why would you bang yourself against the hard wall when there is a soft wall um, okay, a wall of lesser hardness elsewhere?
By designating those missions as “high threat” posts, is it possible that we have discouraged the attacks against those facilities but have merely shifted the targets to diplomatic posts not on that list? Okay, think about that for a moment. There are about 250 posts not/not on that high threat list.
WhirledView’s Patricia Kushlis (a 27-year veteran of the Foreign Service) asks, where the bucks stop on Benghazi?
Why, at the lower floors absolutely, where else?
But — we heard that people inside the building have been asking/discussing uncomfortable questions like — by what process did the State Department chose one NEA deputy assistant secretary (DAS) who may or may not have had Libya in his portfolio and three Diplomatic Security (DS) officials for discipline? What were the criteria for such discipline? Why were the NEA Assistant Secretary and Principal Assistant Secretary (PDAS) not in the mix? Who made the decision? Also on what basis did Administration/Department officials decide to extend the “temporary” Benghazi presence by another year? On the basis of what criteria did Department leaders recently designate top-priority high risk, high threat posts?
All that we’ve talked about in our previous postings.
Patricia’s post asking where those darn bucks should stop is good reading because so far those bucks have not stopped spinning. She talks about leadership or lack thereof insider the big house, some of the characters in this badly done episode and a possible resolution in the next season. Excerpt below:
The report corroborates that multiple mistakes were made – not just that tragic night – but in the months before. They go deep into the heart of the system’s weaknesses. Leadership – or actually lack thereof – is a problem the report alludes to with capital Ls although names of officials above the Assistant Secretary, or bureaucratic Firewall, as Diplopundit put it, are missing. This might be adequate for a networked organization but the State Department is institutionalized hierarchy personified and the report tells us that news of the attack was being called in as it happened to State’s 24/7 Diplomatic Security Center and relayed to the NSC and elsewhere. At least that piece of the building apparently works as it should.
Before Hillary Clinton set foot in the department, she knew that it suffered from severe financial and administrative stress. She smartly established a Deputy Secretary for Management and Resources bringing in Jack Lew – Obama’s current Chief of Staff and now nominee to become the next Treasury Secretary – to fill the new position. Lew lasted at State about a year, spent his time addressing budgetary deficiencies and much to his credit, got Congress to approve major funding increases for the beleagured department before he moved on and over to the White House.
Hillary didn’t, however, tackle other flashing yellow light administrative shortcomings – leaving management of the department and the embassies to Patrick F. Kennedy who had been brought back to State by mentor and then Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte in 2007. But before that Kennedy had been Chief of Staff at the US Transition Unit in Baghdad in 2004 where he worked for Negroponte and had held the same position in the CPA (2003) – a period of chaos in Iraq when millions upon millions of dollars disappeared.
Why Hillary kept Kennedy in the position after her arrival in 2009 is a mystery. Anyone who was responsible for coordinating the reorganization of the foreign affairs agencies under Madeleine Albright – a real hash job whose Sandy-like after-effects reverberate today – or forbidding American Embassy officers from attending Obama’s speech in Berlin July 24, 2008 on the grounds it was partisan politics despite the fact that Americans have the freedom to assemble under the US Constitution shrieks foremost, in my view, of a serious lack of judgment.
For the record: Kennedy was Acting Under Secretary for Management from 1996-7 and Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security in 1998 and Eric Boswell’s first carnation as Head of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security (he was in the same position when Benghazi ignited in September, was supposedly fired but is apparently still in place) was from 1996-98. So Boswell and Kennedy would have been in top management positions in State responsible for Embassy security when then US Ambassador Prudence Bushnell’s requests for better security for Nairobi had been refused.
It’s too late for Hillary to houseclean as she should have four years ago. Calling her up to the Hill to confess guilt – or deflect blame – won’t make a difference in the next encounter between American diplomats and militant Islamic terrorists. But John Kerry, her likely successor, should make tending State’s garden, investigating its Byzantine byways as well as focusing on its financial and human resources – a top priority. Benghazi needn’t have happened. There needn’t be a reprise.
If Senator Kerry is confirmed, we’d really like to see him stay home some more and and not try and break Condi or Hillary’s travel records. There are lots of stuff that really needs fixing right there inside The Building.
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