• US Ambassador: State Dept. promotes freedom abroad but supresses whistleblower here

    June 4, 2012

    Tags: , , , , ,
    Posted in: Embassy/State

    In addition to the ACLU, the Government Accountability Project, the Project on Government Oversight and others chastising the Department of State for hypocritically supporting web freedom abroad while planning to fire me here at home for writing this blog, former US Ambassador to Mozambique and Peru Dennis Jett now joins the growing list of prominent critics.

    Ambassador Jett writes:

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton forcefully intervened recently on behalf of Chen Guancheng, the blind Chinese dissident, who has been hounded by his government for criticizing official policy. It’s too bad she won’t afford the same consideration to the employees of her own department.

    Secretary Clinton has made defending the kind of freedom of expression that Chen tried to practice one of the hallmarks of her time in office. In a speech at the Newseum in Washington in early 2010, she insisted citizens must have the right to criticize their governments not just in the public square, but also in blogs, emails, social networks, text messages and other new forums for exchanging ideas. Governments should not attempt to censor or limit such activity she asserted, noting proudly that the State Department was working in more than 40 countries to help individuals silenced by oppressive governments.

    Why, then, is the State Department trying to silence one of its employees for remarks it does not like and attempting to criminalize his exercise of freedom of speech? The book and a blog by Van Buren were apparently more freedom-of-expression than the State Department could tolerate however.

    The chilling effect on State Department employees of such a blatant attempt to silence unwelcome opinions is apparently not limited to Van Buren’s case. The American Foreign Service Association, the professional association of the Foreign Service, gives four annual awards each to recognize employees who have “exhibited extraordinary accomplishment involving initiative, integrity, intellectual courage and constructive dissent.” In three of the last four years, there has been no winner of the award for either junior officers or senior officers.

    Read Ambassador Jett’s full article online now.

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  • Recent Comments

    • Rich Bauer said...


      SecState Clinton’s WikiLeaks position is akin to SecState Mushroom Cloud’s WMD leaky defense: keep US in the dark and feed them horsesh^t.


      06/4/12 3:23 PM | Comment Link

    • Janice said...


      “..In three of the last four years, there has been no winner of the award for either junior officers or senior officers. ”

      Why would there be? Dissent is punished. Dare raise portfolio-relevant issues and concerns, or try to warn your local superiors or a rival bureau of serious issues to avoid something like an international scandal, then watch as your evaluations be abused and falsified, and you get accused of claims so poorly constructed and ridiculous. How about “trying to solve every problem as soon as it arises” or watch as your work gets plagiarized, something people get fired for or reprimanded in academia. It takes backbone and integrity to be “that” guy. Is a lousy grade increase and queasy conscience worth looking the other way??

      06/5/12 5:20 AM | Comment Link

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