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Burn Bag: Diplomat Writes About “The Slog of Leadership” and Misses Attack Date By a Year+

Via Burn Bag:

What’s this? The worst day of Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley’s life isn’t the day five of her staff were killed in Saudi Arabia? How did she get the date so wrong in this NYTimes Op-Ed? The attack was December 6, 2004, not/not December 4, 2005.

Like every chief of mission around the world, then and now, I began and ended each day with the question: “What can I do to increase safety for my staff?” I had reason to worry because for several years, the security situation in Saudi Arabia had been perilous, with terrorists attacking and murdering Saudis, other Arabs and Westerners. Diplomatic missions were favorite targets and ours, the Consulate General in Jeddah, made up of approximately 50 Americans and 150 locally-hired employees, was particularly attractive. With the advice of my security team, we raised the height of our walls, topped them with glass shards and barbed wire and imposed travel restrictions on the staff. We armed our guards and, unlike most diplomatic compounds, allowed military patrols inside our walls.
[…]
One proposal, however, threatened to tear our community apart. My security chief wanted to require all non-American staff to pass through metal detectors to enter the compound. I understood the imperative for a careful screening. But for a community under siege, the feeling that “we were all in it together” was critical to getting us through each day. Disparate treatment was sure to corrode our cohesiveness and send a signal to the local staff that we distrusted them despite the fact that they, too, put their lives on the line every day by walking through our gates.
[…]
After it was installed, I made sure that I was the very first staff member to walk through the metal detector. I can’t say that we had a Kumbaya moment or that resentment of my decision ended immediately among my American staff.  I had to lead by example and trust that they respected my integrity even if they didn’t like my position.

Despite all our measures, on December 4, 2005, one of the worst days of my life, terrorists attacked the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah. After a long standoff, 10 of my staff members were injured, some terribly, and five were killed. These were colleagues with whom we worked alongside every day, and socialized with after work. And each and every one of them was a local staff member.

Read: http://nytlive.nytimes.com/womenintheworld/2017/05/15/diplomat-to-saudi-arabia-opens-up-about-what-got-her-through-one-of-the-worst-days-of-my-life/

Related posts:

Related item:

Review of Department of State Implementation of Jeddah Accountability Review Board of Recommendation to Consider Remote Safe Areas at Missions Worldwide (pdf)

 

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Terrorist Attacks Rock France, Tunisia, Kuwait: Three Countries. Three Continents. All Soft Targets.

Posted: 4:41  pm EDT

 

Terrorists attacked sites in France, Tunisia and Kuwait today. At least 37 people including British, Belgian and German nationals were killed by gunmen at a beach resort in Tunisia, one person was reportedly decapitated in France at a US-owned factory, and at least 25 people were killed at a suicide bombing at a mosque in Kuwait. Three countries, three continents and  all soft targets.
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The US Embassy Paris released the following security message on 

The U.S. Embassy in Paris informs U.S. citizens that a terrorist attack took place at approximately 10 AM today at a U.S.-owned factory in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, Isere, France, southeast of Lyon, at a large industrial park. One person was killed and two others were reported injured. None of the deceased or injured was a U.S. citizen. The motivation for the attack is unknown, and one suspect is in French government custody.   The Government of France maintains a threat rating system, known locally as “Vigipirate,” similar to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Advisory System. Following the January 2015 terrorist attacks, the Government of France raised the “Vigipirate” level and continues to evaluate its security posture on a regular basis. Up-to-date information is available on the “Vigipirate” website in French.

 

Under this system, the government routinely augments police with armed forces and increases visibility at airports, train and metro stations, and other high-profile locations such as schools, major tourist attractions, and government installations. Over the last few years, there have been arrests of suspected militant extremists allegedly involved in terrorist plots. French authorities have spoken publicly about the heightened threat conditions for terrorist attacks in Europe.

 

U.S. citizens in France are encouraged to remain vigilant. Immediately report unattended packages observed in public places, or any other suspicious activities, to French law enforcement authorities. French authorities are proactive and will respond immediately. If there is a security incident or suspicious package, do not linger in the area to observe.

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The  US Embassy in Tunis released the following  message:

The U.S. Embassy wishes to alert U.S. citizens to a terrorist attack in Tunisia around the Kantaoui area at the Imperial Riu Marhaba and Soviva hotels in Sousse.   The U.S. Embassy urges U.S. citizens to avoid the Kantaoui area and surrounding vicinity. The U.S. Embassy reiterates our standing guidance that U.S. citizens in Tunisia should exercise caution when frequenting public venues that are visited by large numbers of foreigners, such as hotels, shopping centers, and tourist sites and restaurants.

U.S. citizens should also be alert to the possibility of kidnapping.  U.S. citizens are reminded to exercise caution and avoid areas where large gatherings may occur.  Even demonstrations or events intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence.  U.S. citizens should monitor local events, report suspicious activity to the local police, and take appropriate steps to bolster their own security.

Travelers contemplating trips to the interior of the country should assess local conditions and routes when making travel plans.  In particular, all travel south of the designated military zone in the south must be coordinated in advance with Tunisian authorities.  Also, travel to either border should be avoided if possible given the periodic security incidents along the border regions.

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The US Embassy in Kuwait issued this: Explosion at Mosque in Al-Sawaber neighborhood of Kuwait City – Security Notice for U.S. Citizens 2015

There has been an explosion at a mosque in the Al Sawaber neighborhood of Kuwait.  There have been reports of deaths and injuries.  U.S. citizens should avoid the area.  Please stay current with media coverage of local and regional events. U.S. Mission personnel have been advised to continue to practice personal security awareness and we advise the U.S. citizen community to do the same.

The embassy also released a statement calling the explosion “a senseless terrorist attack on worshipers in the Al-Imam Al-Sadiq Mosque”, condemning the attack and says that “the United States stands ready to assist our friend and ally Kuwait in any way possible.”
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Below is the WH statement on the three attacks:

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30 Years Ago Today: 1983 U.S. Marine Corps Barracks Bombing – Beirut, Lebanon

— By Domani Spero

On 23 October 1983, at around 6:22 a.m., a truck laden with the equivalent of over 12,000 pounds of TNT crashed through the perimeter of the compound of the U.S. contingent of the Multinational Force at Beirut International Airport, Beirut, Lebanon, penetrated the Battalion Landing Team Headquarters building and detonated. The force of the explosion destroyed the building resulting in the deaths of 241 U.S. military personnel: 220 Marines, 18 sailors and three soldiers, making this incident the deadliest single-day death toll for the United States Marine Corps since the Battle of Iwo Jima.

BEFORE

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Photo via Beirut Memorial

AFTER

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Photo via Beirut Memorial

The Report of the DoD Commission on Beirut International Airport Terrorist Act, October 23, 1983 also known as the Long Commission after Admiral Robert L. J. Long who chaired the committee, is available here via fas.org. The following are the names of the people we lost in that attack. (via US Embassy Beirut).

CPL Terry W. Abbott, USMC
LCPL Clemon S. Alexander, USMC
PFC John R. Allman, USMC
CPL Moses J. Arnold JR., USMC
PFC Charles K. Bailey, USMC
LCPL Nicholas Baker, USMC
LCPL Johnsen Banks, USMC
LCPL Richard E. Barrett, USMC
HM1 Ronny K. Bates, USN
1STSGT David L. Battle, USMC
LCPL James R. Baynard, USMC
HN Jesse W. Beamon, USN
GYSGT Alvin Belmer, USMC
PFC Stephen Bland, USMC
SGT Richard L. Blankenship, USMC
LCPL John W. Blocker, USMC
CAPT Joseph J. Boccia JR., USMC
CPL Leon Bohannon JR., USMC
SSGT John R. Bohnet JR., USMC
CPL John J. Bonk JR., USMC
LCPL Jeffrey L. Boulos, USMC
CPL David R. Bousum, USMC
1STLT John N. Boyett, USMC
CPL Anthony Brown, USMC
LCPL David W. Brown, USMC
LCPL Bobby S. Buchanan JR., USMC
CPL John B. Buckmaster, USMC
PFC William F. Burley, USMC
HN Jimmy R. Cain, USN
CPL Paul L. Callahan, USMC
SGT Mecot E. Camara, USMC
PFC Bradly J. Campus, USMC
LCPL Johnnie D. Ceasar, USMC
PFC Marc L. Cole, USMC
SP4 Marcus A. Coleman, USA
PFC Juan M. Comas, USMC
SGT Robert A. Conley, USMC
CPL Charles D. Cook, USMC
LCPL Curtis J. Cooper, USMC
LCPL Johnny L. Copeland, USMC
CPL Bert D. Corcoran, USMC
LCPL David L. Cosner, USMC
SGT Kevin P. Coulman, USMC
LCPL Brett A. Croft, USMC
LCPL Rick R. Crudale, USMC
LCPL Kevin P. Custard, USMC
LCPL Russell E. Cyzick, USMC
MAJ Andrew L. Davis, USMC
PFC Sidney S. Decker, USMC
PFC Michael J. Devlin, USMC
LCPL Thomas A. Dibenedetto, USMC
PVT Nathaniel G. Dorsey, USMC
SGTMAJ Frederick B. Douglass, USMC
CPL Timothy J. Dunnigan, USMC
HN Bryan L. Earle, USN
MSGT Roy L. Edwards, USMC
HM3 William D. Elliot JR., USN
LCPL Jesse Ellison, USMC
PFC Danny R. Estes, USMC
PFC Sean F. Estler, USMC
HM3 James E. Faulk, USN
PFC Richard A. Fluegel, USMC
CPL Steven M. Forrester, USMC
HM3 William B. Foster JR., USN
CPL Michael D. Fulcher, USMC
LCPL Benjamin E. Fuller, USMC
LCPL Michael S. Fulton, USMC
CPL William Gaines JR., USMC
LCPL Sean R. Gallagher, USMC
LCPL David B. Gander, USMC
LCPL George M. Gangur, USMC
SSGT Leland E. Gann, USMC
LCPL Randall J. Garcia, USMC
SSGT Ronald J. Garcia, USMC
LCPL David D. Gay, USMC
SSGT Harold D. Ghumm, USMC
LCPL Warner Gibbs JR., USMC
CPL Timothy R. Giblin, USMC
ETC Michael W. Gorchinski, USN
LCPL Richard J. Gordon, USMC
LCPL Harold F. Gratton, USMC
SGT Robert B. Greaser, USMC
LCPL Davin M. Green, USMC
LCPL Thomas A. Hairston, USMC
SGT Freddie Haltiwanger JR., USMC
LCPL Virgil D. Hamilton, USMC
SGT Gilbert Hanton, USMC
LCPL William Hart, USMC
CAPT Michael S. Haskell, USMC
PFC Michael A. Hastings, USMC
CAPT Paul A. Hein, USMC
LCPL Douglas E. held, USMC
PFC Mark A. Helms, USMC
LCPL Ferrandy D. Henderson, USMC
SSGT John Hendrickson, USMC
MSGT Matilde Hernandez JR., USMC
CPL Stanley G. Hester, USMC
GYSGT Donald W. Hildreth, USMC
SSGT Richard H. Holberton, USMC
HM3 Robert S. Holland, USN
LCPL Bruce A. Hollingshead, USMC
PFC Melvin D. Holmes, USMC
CPL Bruce L. Howard, USMC
LT John R. Hudson, USN
CPL Terry L. Hudson, USMC
LCPL Lyndon J. Hue, USMC
2NDLT Maurice E. Hukill, USMC
LCPL Edward F. Iacovino JR., USMC
PFC John J. Ingalls, USMC
WO1 Paul G. Innocenzi III, USMC
LCPL James J. Jackowski, USMC
LCPL Jeffrey W. James, USMC
LCPL Nathaniel W. Jenkins, USMC
HM2 Michael H. Johnson, USN
CPL Edward A. Johnston, USMC
LCPL Steven Jones, USMC
PFC Thomas A. Julian, USMC
HM2 Marion E. Kees, USN
SGT Thomas C. Keown, USMC
GYSGT Edward E. Kimm, USMC
LCPL Walter V. Kingsley, USMC
SGT Daniel S. Kluck, USA
LCPL James C. Knipple, USMC
LCPL Freas H. Kreischer III, USMC
LCPL Keith J. Laise, USMC
LCPL Thomas G. Lamb, USMC
LCPL James J. Langon IV, USMC
SGT Michael S. Lariviere, USMC
CPL Steven B. Lariviere, USMC
MSGT Richard L. Lemnah, USMC
CPL David A. Lewis, USMC
SGT Val S. Lewis, USMC
CPL Joseph R. Livingston, USMC
LCPL Paul D. Lyon JR., USMC
MAJ John W. Macroglou, USMC
CPL Samuel Maitland, USMC
SSGT Charlie R. Martin, USMC
PFC Jack L. Martin, USMC
CPL David S. Massa, USMC
SGT Michael R. Massman, USMC
PVT Joseph J. Mattacchione, USMC
LCPL John McCall, USMC
SGT James E. McDonough, USMC
LCPL Timothy R. McMahon, USMC
LCPL Timothy D. McNeely, USMC
HM2 George N. McVicker II, USN
PFC Louis Melendez, USMC
SGT Richard H. Menkins II, USMC
CPL Michael D. Mercer, USMC
LCPL Ronald W. Meurer, USMC
HM3 Joseph P. Milano, USN
CPL Joseph P. Moore, USMC
LCPL Richard A. Morrow, USMC
LCPL John F. Muffler, USMC
CPL Alex Munoz, USMC
CPL Harry D. Myers, USMC
1STLT David J. Nairn, USMC
LCPL Luis A. Nava, USMC
CPL John A. Olson, USMC
PFC Robert P. Olson, USMC
CWO3 Richard C. Ortiz, USMC
PFC Jeffrey B. Owen, USMC
CPL Joseph A. Owens, USMC
CPL Connie Ray Page, USMC
LCPL Ulysses Parker, USMC
LCPL Mark W. Payne, USMC
GYSGT John L. Pearson, USMC
PFC Thomas S. Perron, USMC
SGT John A. Phillips JR., USMC
HMC George W. Piercy, USN
1STLT Clyde W. Plymel, USMC
SGT William H. Pollard, USMC
SGT Rafael I. Pomalestorres, USMC
CPL Victor M. Prevatt, USMC
PFC James C. Price, USMC
SSGT Patrick K. Prindeville, USMC
PFC Eric A. Pulliam, USMC
HM3 Diomedes J. Quirante, USN
LCPL David M. Randolph, USMC
GYSGT Charles R. Ray, USMC
PFC Rui A. Relvas, USMC
PFC Terrance L. Rich, USMC
LCPL Warren Richardson, USMC
SGT Juan C. Rodriguez, USMC
LCPL Louis J. Rotondo, USMC
LCPL Guillermo Sanpedro JR., USMC
LCPL Michael C. Sauls, USMC
1STLT Charles J. Schnorf, USMC
PFC Scott L. Schultz, USMC
CAPT Peter J. Scialabba, USMC
CPL Gary R. Scott, USMC
CPL Ronald L. Shallo, USMC
CPL Thomas A. Shipp, USMC
LCPL Jerryl D. Shropshire, USMC
LCPL James F. Silvia, USMC
LCPL Larry H. Simpson JR., USMC
LCPL Stanley J. Sliwinski, USMC
LCPL Kirk H. Smith, USMC
SSGT Thomas G. Smith, USMC
CAPT Vincent L. Smith, USMC
LCPL Edward Soares, USMC
1STLT William S. Sommerhof, USMC
LCPL Michael C. Spaulding, USMC
LCPL John W. Spearing, USMC
LCPL Stephen E. Spencer, USMC
LCPL Bill J. Stelpflug, USMC
LCPL Horace R. Stephens, USMC
PFC Craig S. Stockton, USMC
LCPL Jeffrey G. Stokes, USMC
LCPL Thomas D. Stowe, USMC
LCPL Eric D. Sturghill, USMC
LCPL Devon L. Sundar, USMC
LT James F. Surch JR., USN
CPL Dennis A. Thompson, USMC
SSGT Thomas P. Thorstad, USMC
PFC Stephen D. Tingley, USMC
LCPL John J. Tishmack, USMC PFC
Donald H. Vallone JR., USMC
CPL Eric R. Walker, USMC
CPL Leonard W. Walker, USMC
CPL Eric G. Washington, USMC
CPL Obrian Weekes, USMC
1STSGT Tandy W. Wells, USMC
LCPL Steven B. Wentworth, USMC
SGT Allen D. Wesley, USMC
GYSGT Lloyd D. West, USMC
SSGT John R. Weyl, USMC
CPL Burton D. Wherland JR., USMC
LCPL Dwayne W. Wigglesworth, USMC
LCPL Rodney J. Williams, USMC
GYSGT Scipio Williams JR., USMC
LCPL Johnny A. Williamson, USMC
CAPT Walter E. Wint JR., USMC
CAPT William E. Winter, USMC
CPL John E. Wolfe, USMC
1STLT Donald E. Woollett, USMC
HM3 David E. Worley, USN
PFC Craig L. Wyche, USMC
SFC James G. Yarber, USA
SGT Jeffrey D. Young, USMC
1STLT William A. Zimmerman

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