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Showing posts with label State Department. Show all posts
Showing posts with label State Department. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Somalia Asks Kerry for Immunity for Alleged War Criminal in U.S.

In one of its first acts since being granted diplomatic recognition by the United States,  the new government of Somalia wants the Obama administration to shield a former general and prime minister from a suit that found him responsible for atrocities a quarter century ago.

During the 1980s, Gen. Mohamed Ali Samantar commanded military forces that carried out a brutal repression of the Isaaq people in northern Somalia, including countless atrocities, according to the Center for Justice and Accountability, a San Francisco-based human rights group.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Benghazi Debacle: FUBAR

On the very first night of my arrival in Vietnam to take over a secret intelligence operation, I was invited with my team to attend a cocktail party at the American consulate in Da Nang, an old French colonial port city on the central coast. I was so new, I was memorizing my cover story even as we drove to the consulate.

I was going to be running a “unilateral” espionage operation, which is to say, I not only wouldn't work with my South Vietnamese counterparts, who were heavily infiltrated by the communists, I was to consider them potential enemy agents, too.

A South Vietnamese colonel approached me during the party and asked what I did.  Using my fresh-from-language school Vietnamese, I told him that I was Army civilian working with a civilian refugee assistance program.

“Oh,”  he said with a smirk, “you’re a spook.” 

I froze. Later on, driving back to our safe house (in a Jeep painted black with diplomatic license tags, no less), I nervously told my teammates about the encounter with the colonel.

“Oh, that’s nothing”, one said, chuckling. “The Green Berets captured a Vietcong terrorist map six months ago. It had a big X on our house.”

“What happened?” I asked. “Nothing,” they said in unison, smiling with war-weariness. “Obviously we haven't moved.

"It’s just Fubar."

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Romney's 3 am Phone Call

Arguably the most memorable political ad during Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign for the White House was the “3 AM phone call.” 

“It’s 3 am and your children are safe and asleep.  But there’s a phone in the White House and it’s ringing. Something's happening in the world. Your vote will decide who answers that call. Whether it’s someone who already knows the world’s leaders. Knows the military. Someone tested and ready to lead in a dangerous world ... Who do you want answering the phone?”

If the last 36 hours are any guide, you don’t want Mitt Romney answering that phone. In fact, you don’t want him anywhere near the White House situation room, ever.

You do want Barack Obama picking up that phone. For if Obama’s surprising performance over the past three-plus years as commander in chief is any guide, he’s calm, cool, collected--and effective--in a crisis, no matter what you think of his domestic policies or drone strikes.

Romney, in contrast, is an excitable lad. He’s exactly what you don’t want in a commander-in-chief, which is to say, he’s impetuous, not to mention shallow.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Why Not Asylum for Pakistani Doctor Who Helped CIA Find Bin Laden?


By the standards of most governments in his neck of the woods, Pakistani doctor Shakeel Afridi could be dead by now, from a bullet in the head delivered in the basement of a dank prison.

The fact that he’s still alive surely comes as cold comfort, however, since Pakistan may still decide to try him “for high treason for assisting the United States in gathering intelligence” ahead of last May’s raid to kill Osama Bin Laden, according a CNN report Thursday.

Afridi ran a vaccination program that helped the CIA gather information from residents of Abbottabad about the mystery men behind the high walls of a mansion where Bin Laden was hiding, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta confirmed in a “60 Minutes” interview last January.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

State Department Harassing Officer Who Revealed Iraq waste


Peter Van Buren, a veteran State Department officer whose new memoir colorfully describes his participation in the waste of millions of dollars of U.S. reconstruction aid in Iraq, is under investigation by Foggy Bottom’s security office.  

Van Buren says State Department security sleuths told him that a blog he wrote about the transfer of U.S. spare parts to Muammar Qadaffi in 2009, based on a U.S. diplomatic cable exposed by Wikileaks, makes him a possible security risk.

“Unfortunately, the State Department has started an investigation against me,” Van Buren said on NPR’s Fresh Air program Monday. “They claim that a link on the blog connected with this book links to a Wikileaks documents, and that constitutes a disclosure of classified information. And so the security people have begun an investigation against me that will probably end with me losing my job.” 

The State Department cable Van Buren linked to is clearly marked “Unclassified.”

Friday, May 6, 2011

Fallen diplomats honored in State Department ceremony

The more than 200 State Department employees who have died in the line of duty were honored Friday in a solemn ceremony led by the department’s number two official, James B. Steinberg.



The ceremony marked the addition of a 235th name to a plaque sponsored by the American Foreign Service Association in the department’s lobby. Eugene F. Sullivan, who worked for the State Department’s Agency for International Development, or USAID, died of blackwater fever in Ethiopia in 1973.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

State Department Says ‘Missing’ Laptops Located

The State Department says it has found the 400 laptops that were unaccounted for last week. A senior official acknowledged that managers in the Diplomatic Security service had lost track of the computers, which are destined for friendly foreign police services. But he said that they were located “within 24 hours” after CQ reported them missing over the weekend.

CQ Politics (05/06/2008)

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Hundreds of State Department Laptops Missing: Audit

As many as 400 of the unaccounted for laptops belong to the department’s Anti-Terrorism Assistance Program, officials say, which provides counterterrorism training and equipment, including laptops, to foreign police, intelligence and security forces.

CQ Politics (05/02/2008)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Washington Not Ready to Add Nicaragua to the Axis of Evil

Alarms have been raised about Iran’s ties to Nicaragua, but the Bush administration isn’t seeing much to get upset about — yet. Maybe it’s because the Iranians haven’t shown up with the cash for all their grandiose plans. When Nicaraguans hear about the $350 million port and other projects the Iranians are supposed to be building, they simply roll their eyes.

CQ Homeland Security (03/28/2007)

Friday, January 5, 2007

Past Could Haunt Old Faces in Latest Intelligence Shuffle

John D. Negroponte, eagerly packing for the State Department, must have rued more than once that he knew just how John Nance Garner felt.
See Story

CQ Homeland Security (01/05/2007)