• Smell That? Smells Like… Victory

    October 1, 2012

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

    For those reading this blog from Foggy Bottom, can you smell it? Something different in the air? No, no it’s not napalm from the latest group of grateful Muslims freed from another tyrant’s grip by American truth drones, it’s me.

    I’m done stinking up the place. As of midnight yesterday I officially retired from the State Department. You’re all freed from the chaos and tyranny I was accused of inflicting. From the statement “officially retired” you may safely assume that I in fact retired, which is a different word (check the dictionary) from fired, or arrested, or jailed under the Espionage Act. State failed in all those options, in fact in every judicial and other action not totally within its own control. In other words, no one but State’s own incestuous minders was willing to believe I did anything wrong. State could only lash out, limply as it turns out, with its self-controlled bullies from Diplomatic Security, taking away my security clearance because it was the only punitive thing they could actually get away with that had no outside review, no judicial relief and no appeals process.

    Pride people, pride makes us what we are. People first.

    Along the way, the Department’s blind-leading-the-blind stumbles did help create publicity, which in turn sold books, lots of books that were full of stuff they did not like, a perfect example of how what matters most inside the State Department is what matters inside the State Department.

    The great news is that the tumor has been cut out, the boil lanced, the pus-laden throbbing glob that was me is gone. You should already be seeing the many improvements and new opportunities around the State Department.

    My lawyers and I have filed Freedom of Information Act requests and a request to the Office of Management and Budget, as well as with the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, asking what the cost of this year long, multi-Bureau effort to get rid of me might have been.

    While it may be several hundred years before we get a response, we can do some quick figuring: I was paid a full year’s salary and benefits to stay home, Diplomatic Security ran full field investigations and a phony security clearance “update” charade, an investigator from another office was sent all the way to Iraq to dig for dirt on fake charges even State had to drop for lack of a tether to reality, multiple sub-grievances and appeals were prosecuted by State, audits of everything I did fishing for mud to sling, and of course they probably had to buy at least one copy of my book to use to search for the classified info that wasn’t there (full retail was $25 on the book). Factor in the electronic surveillance costs, the numerous well-written denials of my previous Freedom of Information Act requests, plus the man hours of pain and commuting costs when I was summoned in to get yelled at by my paper tiger boss early on. We’ll wait on the full FOIA response, but until State challenges the number, I’m throwing out about a quarter of a million dollars of tax payer cash spent on… on… trying to take away an American Citizen’s right to free speech.

    Well, they failed.

    I believe more strongly now than I ever have in the importance of freedom of speech, including, no, especially including speech which appears dangerous, offensive and wrong to many people. As a nice way of reminding the State Department of its obligation to support free speech, I proudly wore my “Free Bradley Manning” T-shirt to work on my last day. Here’s a photo.

    Now, a lusty cry of “Hillary in 2016!” from everyone, and we’ll keep moving on.

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  • Recent Comments

    • Rich Bauer said...



      As you have documented for all of US to see, there is something rotten in the state of State: the State Department – Diplomatic Security (the guys who got Ambassador Stevens killed)- believes in freedom of speech too; DS agents are free to engage in defamation of character to kill the reputations of their employees who dare document misdeeds by State. For DS, silence is golden and no one pays but you and me.

      Your book will certainly not be the last one to pull back the curtain on the rotten state of State. Someone is probably already working on the “Benghazi Blunder.” DS better release the Flying Monkeys.

      10/1/12 1:23 PM | Comment Link

    • Meloveconsullongtime said...


      The rot at the Yekaterinburg Consulate will be exposed in public soon enough.

      10/1/12 2:12 PM | Comment Link

    • Art Brennan said...


      Peter, thank you for your conscience and courage. I hope to meet you someday, perhaps at the demonstrations we intend to launch for Bradley Manning during the upcoming hearings and the so-called trial.

      10/1/12 2:30 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      Congratulations. For two things. First, surviving the inquisition, and second, for freeing your self from the the State sub-human gene cesspool..of which..I’d submit is the source of the stench you speak of. Which I also understand would gag a maggot. Of course..a rotting corpse and a pile of putrid manure makes for happy maggots, and lot’s of em, State notwithstanding.

      So have yourself a nice hot shower…or ten, a cold drink on me, and good luck with your new found freedom from the stench Peter. I look forward to your future posts.

      The only question I have is..how did you live with it for so long?

      10/1/12 5:05 PM | Comment Link

    • Eric Hodgdon said...


      And, yet, the battle has just begun. Cheer today, knuckle down for tomorrow.

      Weathering that storm is a step forward, have a smoke, cup of coffee, doughnut too.

      You’ve got a way with words, inventive, precise, crisp, and a sense of humor fitting the ordeal.

      My own trial, of insisting on an education, at the local community college, eventually earned me a restraining order after 2.5 years of continually contacting the elected ‘overseeing’ Regent to ask him to take an interest in some irregularities.

      The restraining order has expired, the farce it was when judges act to serve not the people, but to perpetuate government.

      Weathering my storm may pail in comparison to yours, but I’ll hazard a guess in that the type I endured occurs everyday across the country. Petty little people think they are divinely allowed to harass others because they can get away with it.

      To end that obsession I took on a greater one, hoping to take-down our centralized nation-state dictatorship, and let the People once again decide on their government again. This extra-legal means is simply the way the World works.

      Our Declaration clearly defines Our Duty.

      And I hope someone with nefarious designs and delusions is also reading this, because you aim to ruin and destroy what you say you are protecting. An oath taken is why I challenge and confront you, the domestic terrorist dressed in the costume of government, pretending to act legitimate.

      10/1/12 6:09 PM | Comment Link

    • JVC said...


      Read your book. It was excellent. Thank you for standing up and taking a stand.
      I work for a different bureau and agency but it’s all the same. All exactly the same.
      I feel at present the system is too strong for individuals to really make a difference but there is a coalescence occurring, a convergence of opinion and recognition that the marginalization of thinkers who know what is up can only continue for so long… the emperor wears no clothes and it is becoming clearer by the day.
      Most obvious to me is the financial lie… we’re printing the money that is keeping this whole thing afloat and sooner or later this thing is going to give way in a way much worse than 2008.
      When that happens and only when that happens, will we see the system grind to a halt a la the USSR in 1990.
      This was very obvious in “We Meant Well” where aside from brute force, the only thing the reconstruction teams had going for them was endless gobs of cash.
      Nuance, sophistication in intercultural relations, knowledge of the indigenous cultures, language, etc… not a requirement.
      Ability to kiss supervisory ass, be a “Yes Man,” and drink government Kool Aid… the only pre-req.
      Thanks for your hard work and bravery. – JVC

      10/1/12 10:56 PM | Comment Link

    • Lafcadio said...


      Congrats PVB!

      “You’ve done a man’s work, sir!”

      The State Department, and the whole USG, is like a huge glacier. In a few spots, enlightened individuals are chipping away, a flamethrower here, some dynamite there. The glacier keeps moving, but the course is slightly changed.

      Plenty more needs to be done. Cronyism in the Consular Bureau. Maura Harty is fired, and Janice Jacobs hired Maura’s husband to a phony position. Always have to have a Harty in a top spot in the Bureau.

      Rot in the State OIG. NEVER GO TO THE STATE OIG hotline!! You might as well go to the head of the applicable Bureau with a big target drawn on your bod, cuz that’s who is going to find out about your allegation of waste, fraud and abuse in double quick time.

      So plenty more needs to be done. but you’ve shown the way.

      Good work!

      10/2/12 9:24 AM | Comment Link

    • liberti said...


      Astute comment: it’s going on in every federal agency. Case in point: the Broadcasting Board of Governors where they just passed a resolution that amounts to a gag order where employees (and Board members) are forbidden to talk to the outside world. Or else. Punishment as yet undefined. This in an agency which trumpets the rule of law, human rights, and free speech to the world. Where they rounded up 30 employees at Radio Svoboda (Liberty, haha) with burly guards at the door and fired the employees en masse. They get severance pay ONLY if they don’t talk. Land of the free? Don’t think so. Home of the brave? There are still a few left, one of them being Peter Van Buren.

      10/2/12 2:25 PM | Comment Link

    • George Novinger said...


      Go man go! Congratulations, and thank you for the many good years of hard work as a public servant you gave to America and its people.

      10/2/12 7:02 PM | Comment Link

    • Mary said...



      Thank you so much for all you’ve done.

      People like you are a shining beacon.

      All the best in your new life.

      10/2/12 11:00 PM | Comment Link

    • After a Year of Serious Roars and Growls, State Dept Officially Retires FSO-Non Grata Peter Van Buren | Diplopundit said...


      […] And so a year after We Meant Well was published, and after numerous investigations ending in a whimper, the State Department officially retired Mr. Van Buren on September 30, 2012. No, the agency did not fire him despite all sorts of allegations.  And yes, he gets his full retirement. […]

      10/2/12 11:33 PM | Comment Link

    • MLC said...


      Peter, a LOT of people were pulling for you, and are delighted that you held out, did not cave, and will continue to pester State to do what’s right. That will never happen, of course, but in the meantime you are now free to be a grownup. Please continue the fight – and keep us posted on the juicy details – but also take your talents and unblinking stubbornness somewhere that will appreciate them. I will continue to do my teeny tiny part: paying full retail for copies of your book to donate to all the public and college libraries in my area. Carry on, sally forth.

      10/3/12 1:10 PM | Comment Link

    • vicki said...


      Good luck on the FOIA thing. I had my own battle with DS – I gave up a year ago this month. Sounds like they used some of the same delay tactics; no real shot at an appeal of the decision to suspend my clearance (and since suspension is not the same as actual removal of the clearance, you can’t fight it through the legal system, as you well know, I’m sure), memos in limbo, the clearance “update” game, and multiple revisions to the memo (which i never got to see) which meant no decision was ever even close to being made. Of course, since I was civil service, I was on leave without pay. Only so long you can go on that before you’re forced to give up purely from a financial standpoint. On the other hand, a year later, i’m glad to be gone! So maybe they did me a favor.

      My FOIA request, which has yet to be “officially” answered, is estimated to be complete in a year. If you have more luck with yours – keep us all posted as there are many who are fighting similar battles. Lead the way.

      10/4/12 2:40 PM | Comment Link

    • US National Archives Has Blocked Searches for ‘WikiLeaks’ | Support Julian Assange said...


      […] Van Buren’s last day at the office, he showed up wearing a “Free Bradley Manning” t-shirt, “as a nice way of […]

      11/6/12 8:11 AM | Comment Link

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