Round-Up: Presentations of Credentials

Posted: 12:46 am ET
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People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria

Canada

Republic of Costa Rica

Republic of Guatemala

Republic of Peru

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Trump to Nominate George E. Glass to be U.S. Ambassador to Portugal

Posted: 3:55 am ET
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On June 17, President Trump announced his intent to nominate George E. Glass to be U.S. Ambassador to Portugal. The WH released the following brief bio:

George Edward Glass of Oregon to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Portuguese Republic.Mr. Glass has been Owner & Managing Partner since 2015 of MGG Development LLC in Lake Oswego, Oregon, a commercial enterprise that purchases and operates apartment complexes and rental homes. He was Founder, President and Vice Chairman of Pacific Crest Securities in Portland, Oregon from 1990 to 2014. Mr. Glass is a trustee for Oregon Health Sciences University and was formerly a trustee for the University of Oregon. He has served on numerous private and public boards and advisory councils. Mr. Glass earned a B.S. from the University of Oregon.

The following via Bloomberg:

George E. Glass is a Vice Chairman and President at Pacific Crest Securities Inc. George Glass oversees Pacific Crest’s sales and trading activities. Mr. Glass is a member of Pacific Crest’s Commitment Committee and sits on the firm’s Board of Directors. Prior to joining Pacific Crest, Mr. Glass was with U.S. National Bank where he specialized in the areas of securities trading, and institutional sales. He currently serves as a trustee for the University of Oregon. Mr. Glass received a BS from the University of Oregon.

 

Hey, folks remember a George Glass from The Brady Bunch …

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Ex-CIA Sabrina de Sousa Granted Partial Pardon by Italian President Mattarella

Posted: 2:19 am  ET
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We’ve followed the case of Sabrina de Sousa in this blog since 2009. She previously worked as an FSO for the State Department from 1998 to 2009. In a July 2013 interview with McClatchyDC, Ms. De Sousa confirmed that she worked under cover for the CIA in Milan, Italy.

 

According to the Guardian, the office of Italian President Sergio Mattarella issued a statement late Tuesday saying that De Sousa had been granted a partial pardon. It means a reduction of her four-year sentence of detention by one year.  The statement cited by media reports indicate that De Sousa “would be able to serve her sentence with “alternative measures” to detention, meaning that she could avoid spending any time in jail.”

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CIA Officer Declared as @StateDept Officer at Consulate Milan Faces Extradition to Italy

Posted: 1:33 pm ET
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Via WaPo:

More than 13 years after an Egyptian cleric was kidnapped off the streets of Milan by CIA operatives, one former agency officer now living in Portugal faces extradition to Italy and the possibility of a four-year prison sentence for the abduction — an outcome that a former agency historian describes as “unprecedented.”

Sabrina De Sousa, 60, was one of 26 Americans convicted in absentia by Italian courts for her alleged role in the February 2003 rendition of Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, also known as Abu Omar.
[…]
De Sousa’s extradition and potential imprisonment would be an astonishing turn of events for a case that raises major questions about how much diplomatic protection CIA case officers abroad possess when carrying out operations sanctioned by their superiors. During her CIA tenure, De Sousa was registered in Italy as a State Department officer at the U.S. consulate in Milan. She did not work as a “NOC” — a non-official cover operative.

“Those of us who were convicted were accredited diplomats and declared to the Italian government,” De Sousa said. “We instead find ourselves treated like NOCs with our U.S. government affiliation disavowed. I would have never joined the CIA if I was told there was a remote possibility that I would never see my mother in Goa again and not travel abroad. This has set a terrible precedent. This rendition was funded by Congress with approval of senior government officials in the U.S., Italy and Egypt.”

It all began on Feb. 17, 2003, when two men snatched Omar while he was walking to a mosque in Milan and stuffed him into a van. The cleric was flown to Egypt where he was beaten and subjected to electric shock , but eventually released. It wasn’t until early 2005 when reports surfaced that Italian authorities were investigating the CIA officers for breaking local laws against detaining terrorist suspects in Europe.
[…]
In early 2009, De Sousa resigned from the CIA, after failed bids to persuade the State Department to grant her immunity.

 

 

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Crisis Management Exercise – Also Known as “Just More of That FSI Crap”

That’s what apparently one ambassador called it within hearing distance of the staff. The ambassador is a career Foreign Service officer.

In the aftermath of the 1998 twin bombings of our embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, the State Department expanded its crisis management training program to allow most Foreign Service employees to participate in an exercise each tour.  If memory serves us right, the CME is part of the recommendations of the ARB Nairobi/Dar.  According to a recent OIG report on FSI, posts that have experienced civil unrest, terrorism, and natural disasters in recent years reported that the exercises were invaluable in preparing them for real crises.

Even a small post like the US Consulate in Ponta Delgada in the Azores did one last September:

The U.S. Consulate conducted a Crisis Management Exercise on September 4, 2012.  The training exercise, designed to practice crisis management procedures in the case of a major natural or man-made disaster type scenario, stressed the importance of emergency planning and preparedness.  Visiting U.S. Foreign Service Institute training facilitator Ruth Abramson covered emergency planning fundamentals, guidance regarding crises, and led participants through a series of fictional yet realistic disaster situations.  This year’s exercise included host government officials which greatly enhanced the scope of the training and accentuated the importance of communication in times of crisis.  Principal Officer Rafael A. Perez highlighted the need for all American Citizens living in the Azores to register with the U.S. Consulate in Ponta Delgada – especially dual citizens.

CME at the US Consulate Ponta Delgada (via USCon Azores)

CME at the US Consulate Ponta Delgada (via USConsulate Azores)

A chief of mission who considers the CME crap sends a signal to his/her staff that the exercise not only lacks merit but is also a waste of time.  And if the person at the top does not take it seriously, how can anyone expect the rest of the mission to take it seriously?

We thought we might update this Crisis-Prepared Vs. Crisis-Unready list extracted from the FAM.  We added the last two items on the list for um, clarity.

From the lessons learned over time and in numerous crises, from natural disasters to terrorist bombings we have developed a strong concept of what NOT to be or do. If you and your colleagues can assure yourselves that the following characteristics of a crisis-prone organization do not describe you or your consular section, you should be able to tackle whatever crisis you encounter .

If the following describes your post, then you need some serious help:

♥ Does not know where it is at risk

♥  Does not routinely communicate internally or externally

♥ Has not considered how to respond

♥ Has not identified key managers

♥ Has unclear policy guidance

♥ Has no emergency procedures/checklists

♥ Has an uncertain/unclear media policy and strategy

♥ Cannot anticipate

♥ Is concerned more with liability than results

♥ Chief of Mission refers to CME as “just more of that FSI crap”

♥ Chief of Mission has been heard on more than one occasion hoping for the Ambassador and DCM to “get killed in the first few minutes of the exercise” so they can leave early.

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