• Washington Post Features We Meant Well Post

    March 29, 2012

    Posted in: Embassy/State

    For those not in Washington DC, Al Kamen’s Washington Post column “In the Loop” is a must-read source of local gossip and snark, dishing it out to DC’s finest long before Wonkette and Gawker came on the scene. So it is with great pleasure that Wednesday’s column cited out this blog:

    State stretch on blogdom?

    Employees getting in trouble at work for their extracurricular blogging are hardly a new story line, but when the blogger in question is a former model fond of posting pictures of herself doing yoga in scant clothing — and she claims to be a “diplomat” — well, the Loop takes notice.

    We were directed to the site of one Jennifer Santiago, who says she’s a Foreign Service officer with the State Department, by Peter Van Buren, another State Department employee. State is in the process of firing Van Buren for a variety of reasons, including his own blogging (which does not include provocative pics, but rather more substantive offenses, the State Department says, such as linking to the whistleblower site WikiLeaks and disclosing classified information, among others).

    Basically, Van Buren is calling out the State Department for going after his online writings while leaving others’ alone. It seems that Foreign Service officers are governed by a code of conduct that mandates a “high degree . . . of prudence” and bars “conduct demonstrating . . . poor judgment” — anything that might hamper an officer’s reputation and ability to represent the United States abroad. Might Santiago’s racy photos and blog posts about samba-ing through Brazil be considered taboo?

    “They’re being very selective about it,” Van Buren claims. “Or else they can’t monitor everything.”

    But the State Department takes a broader view of officers who blog about nonwork subjects. A spokesman explains the three levels of blogdom: “Department employees who wish to write about matters of official concern must obtain department clearance,” he says. “When writing on matters of official concern in their private capacity, they must also include a disclaimer. Matters clearly not of official concern are not subject to the clearance process.”

    Santiago did not respond by our deadline to an e-mail.

    William Randolph Hearst once said “Show me a magazine cover with a pretty girl, a baby and a dog, and I’ll show you a magazine that sells.” We’re looking now for a photo.

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  • Recent Comments

    • Rich Bauer said...


      State’s about-Face: “In the face of growing repression, we continue to expand these important efforts to advance Internet freedom, in the Middle East and throughout the world…just kidding.”

      03/29/12 2:09 PM | Comment Link

    • Mary said...


      She has got one tacky website.

      03/29/12 9:26 PM | Comment Link

    • Michaele Scott said...


      I’ve got a great photo of my cat and/or my son’s puppy that you’re welcome to use. I have loved reading your blog and your book, too, which, by the way, is now making the rounds among my sisters! Keep your chin up, we’re all behind you…;O)

      04/3/12 1:15 AM | Comment Link

    • 2xIraqvet said...


      So, let me get this straight. You are a 20+ year veteran of the service, and you threw some <1 year rookie under the bus to deflect from your own troubles with the State Department.

      You use some pretty girl as a human shield? Classy move.

      Do you know her? have you looked at anything about her other than her provocative pictures. I was pretty impressed with her work on reporting about child slavery in West Africa, but you only saw her body.

      You were an incompetent who couldn't figure out how to make it right, so gleefully committed some serious friendly fire over everyone and everything they were doing over there.

      You would throw it all away for some attention whoring and cheap shots.

      You are a piece of work.

      04/5/12 2:47 AM | Comment Link

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