Posted: 2:45 pm PT
On July 18, President Trump sent the nomination of four career diplomats for the personal rank of Career Ambassador to the U.S. Senate. The nominations have been placed on the Senate Executive Calendar on July 26. As of this writing, the nominations are awaiting full confirmation by the U.S. Senate. We believe these are the first career ambassador nominations made under this administration.
The following-named Career Members of the Senior Foreign Service of the Department of State for the personal rank of Career Ambassador in recognition of especially distinguished service over a sustained period:
- Philip S. Goldberg, of DC
- David M. Hale, of NJ
- Michele Jeanne Sison, of MD
- Daniel Bennett Smith, of VA
Ambassador Goldberg was recently sent to US Embassy Havana to be its chargé d’affaires (see New head of U.S. embassy in Cuba, Philip Goldberg, faces critical road ahead, Feb 2018).
Ambassador Hale has been nominated as the next Under Secretary for Political Affairs. As of July 30, 2018, the nomination is pending in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Ambassador Sison was nominated as U.S. Ambassador to Haiti in July 2017. She was confirmed by voice vote on November 2, 2017.
Ambassador Smith is the current Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research (INR). He was confirmed to that position in 2014 and serving in that capacity to-date, presumably pending the confirmation of this successor Ellen E. McCarthy who was nominated on June 18, 2018. He has been widely rumored as the next Director General of the Foreign Service but no official announcement has been made to date.
- Wait – @StateDept Has a Deputy “M” Again, a Position Discontinued by Congress in 1978
- What did we miss?
- White House Sends @StateDept Renominations to the Senate
- Ten Ex-Directors General Call on the SFRC to Oppose Stephen Akard’s Confirmation
- American Academy of Diplomacy Opposes Nomination of Stephen Akard as @StateDept Personnel Chief
- @StateDept Needs a Better Defense Than This Nominee’s Management of a “Large State Govt Agency”
- Trump’s Pick For @StateDept Personnel Chief Gets the Ultimate “Stretch” Assignment
- DGHR Arnold Chacón Steps Down, One More @StateDept Office Goes Vacant
— Domani Spero
On February 12, 2014, the U.S. Senate confirmed the following executive nominations for the State Department:
- Anthony Luzzatto Gardner, of New York, to be Representative of the United States of America to the European Union, with the rank and status of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary.
- Tina S. Kaidanow, of the District of Columbia, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Coordinator for Counterterrorism, with the rank and status of Ambassador at Large (State/CT)
- Catherine Ann Novelli, of Virginia, to be an Under Secretary of State (Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment) State/E
- Robert A. Sherman, of Massachusetts, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Portuguese Republic.
- Daniel Bennett Smith, of Virginia, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Intelligence and Research) State/INR
* * *
- Up All Night to Do Nothing (swampland.time.com)
- Senate “Nuclear” Fallout Snares State Department Nominees (diplopundit.net)
- Here Comes the Sun: U.S. Senate Confirms A Slew of New Ambassadors as It Runs Out the Door (diplopundit.net)
- Appointments: Beers may go to White House, Kaidanow for State CT (backchannel.al-monitor.com)
- Senate Pulls All Nighter on Post-Nuclear Nominations (swampland.time.com)
- Obama’s new picks for top jobs (washingtonpost.com)
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Today, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is holding its confirmation hearing for President Obama’s nominee for the next ambassador to China, the Director General of the Foreign Service and the Assistant Secretary for the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research. You know where all the attention will be.
Presiding: Senator Menendez
Date: Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Time: 10:00 AM
Location: Senate Dirksen 419
Webcast: This hearing is scheduled to be live webcast. Please return to this page to view the hearing live and see the nominees prepared testimonies:
Panel One:The Honorable Max Baucus (see WH announcement)
of Montana, to be Ambassador to China
- Baucus’ confirmation hearing as China ambassador set for Tuesday (missoulian.com)
- Baucus’s confirmation hearing for China ambassador post next Tuesday (billingsgazette.com)
- Three Takeaways From Baucus’ Selection as Ambassador to China (foreignpolicy.com)
- Baucus To Be Ambassador To China (thedailybeast.com)
- U.S. to Name Sen. Baucus as Ambassador to China (online.wsj.com)
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— Domani Spero
Yesterday, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) released its Review of the Terrorist Attacks on U.S. Facilities in Benghazi, Libya, September11-12, 2012 together with Additional Views. You may read it here. The Armed Services Committee also released six files from the declassified transcripts of the Benghazi briefings here.
The report notes that between 1998 (the year of the terrorist attacks against the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania) and 2012, 273 significant attacks were carried out against U.S. diplomatic facilities and personnel. In the course of its investigation, SSCI conducted on-the record Member and staff meetings with officials already named previously in news reports and with the unnamed former CIA Chief of Base in Benghazi who was at the Annex on the night of the attacks and U.S. Government security personnel on the ground in Benghazi the night of the attacks.
Nothing in the findings or recommendations of the Committee was particularly surprising. The report spreads the blame around not just on the State Department, Defense, the intel community, but also the late Ambassador Stevens for declining twice additional security offered by AFRCOM’s General Carter Ham. But there are some notable details that we have not seen before:
More specificity about the team that flew to Benghazi:
A seven-person security team (consisting of two DoD personnel, four CIA personnel, and a linguist) flew from the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli to Benghazi and successfully helped evacuate the Americans from the Annex to the airport. It is important to clarify that, at the time of the attacks in Benghazi, there were six DoD personnel assigned to Embassy Tripoli. Four employees were under Special Operations Command Africa (SOC-AFRICA) and reported through a similar, but separate, chain of command within AFRICOM. The other two individuals from that team were DoD personnel working (based on a memorandum of understanding) under a separate special operations task force. According to the DoD, the four staff under SOC.,.AFRICA were told by their command to stay to protect Embassy Tripoli due to concerns of a similar attack in Tripoli.
What about State’s Intel Bureau?
Based on the Committee’s review, the State Department’s INR disseminated no intelligence products related to the Benghazi attacks in the year following the attacks. Considering the attacks began on a State Department facility, involved the deaths of two State Department personnel, and were an important indication of escalating threats against U.S. facilities and personnel in the region, the Committee fmds it unsettling that INR chose not to, or was unable to, disseminate any analysis related to the attacks or the implications of the attacks.
Yet, INR officials have access to State Department information and perspectives that many in the Intelligence Community do not; therefore, INR should play a more active–not just a coordinating-role in analysis for the IC and not just the State Department. The State Department’s Inspector General went even further and found that INR should be the office to produce a comprehensive security assessment for each post based on all available diplomatic and intelligence sources.
Individuals Supporting the Investigation, Killed?
The Libyan Government has not shown the political incentive or will within its own country to seek out, arrest, and prosecute individuals believed to be associated with the attacks. Furthermore, the security environment in Benghazi remains extremely dangerous for individuals wishing to work with the U.S. Government on its investigation into the attacks. In testimony before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies, then-FBI Director Robert Mueller noted that as many as 15 individuals supporting the investigation or otherwise helpful to the United States have been killed in Benghazi since the attacks, underscoring the lawless and chaotic circumstances in eastern Libya. It is unclear whether their killings were related to the Benghazi investigation.
#18| SSCI Transcript, Hearing on Security Issues at Benghazi and Threats to U.S. Intelligence and Diplomatic Personne/.and Facilities Worldwide Since the Attacks, December 4; 2012, p. 67. However, on page 47 of its classified report, the ARB concluded: “While none of the five DS agents discharged their weapons, the Board concluded that this was a sound tactical decision, given the overwhelming degree to which they were outgunned and outnumbered: A decision to discharge their weapons may well have resulted in more American deaths that night, without saving lives. The multiple trips that DS agents and Annex security team members made into a burning, smoke-filled building showed readiness to risk life and limb to save.“
#65 | The Committee recognizes that there were communications between State Department employees in Libya regarding security during this time period, including an August 22, 2012, document entitled, “Security Requests for U.S. Mission Benghazi” that was sent from OS agents in Benghazi to the RSO in Tripoli that included specific requests for (I) physical security, (2) equipment, and (3) manpower. There is no indication those requests were passed on to State Department Headquarters in the form of a cable.
#68 | An August 28, 2012, memo entitled, “Regional Security Officer Turnover” from the outgoing RSO stated: “U.S.Mission Benghazi has an uncertain future; Post is scheduled to close December 31,2012. Various alternatives are being proposed, including colocating with the Annex. The RSO should be aware that requests for expensive security upgrades may be difficult to obtain as headquarters is hesitant to allocate money to a post that may be closing in a few months.” Classified Report of the ARB, December 18,2012, Appendix 6, p. I.
Wondering why it was necessary to classify #18 and #68 from the publicly available ARB Report? Do you know?
The Senate report in 85 pages long. The report itself is 42 pages long with its findings and recommendations. The report includes three appendices; as well, there are “Additional Views” attached to the report: a 5-page one from the Democrats on the SSIC (Senators Feinstein, Rockefeller IV, Wyden, Mikulski, Udall, Warner, Heinrich and Maine Senator Angus King); a 16-page one from the GOP members of the Committee namely, Vice-Chairman Chambliss and Senators Burr, Risch, Coats, Rubio and Coburn and a 4-page statement by Maine Senator Susan Collins who co-authored with then Senator Joe Lieberman the HSGAC 2012 report, “Flashing Red: A Special Report on the Terrorist Attack at Benghazi.”
So, basically, what they could not agree to put in the body of the report, the SSIC members placed as attachments to their bipartisan work. We expect that the morning shows on Sunday will be populated with politicians talking about their “additional views” on the report.
* * *
- Why No One Will Ever Be Blamed for Benghazi (foreignpolicy.com)
- Senate panel says attack on U.S. post in Benghazi was preventable (reuters.com)
- Bombshell Benghazi report reveals not so much after all (dailykos.com)
- Senate panel on Benghazi: ‘The attacks were preventable’ (nbcpolitics.nbcnews.com)
- Senate Report Faults State Department for Lack of Security in Benghazi (breitbart.com)
- Benghazi attack was preventable: panel (nydailynews.com)