• State Department Responds

    February 29, 2012 // 1 Comment »

    After months of cheap shots, bully boy retaliation, McCarthy-tactics and a damn cold shoulder, the Department of State finally responded to my book and blog. It was a wimpy, written response from the weekend spokesperson pulled away from delivering the weather and sports news to my interview on NPR, but a response nonetheless.

    Let’s reprint the State Department’s response in its entirety and break it down:

    The State Department values the opinions of its employees and encourages expression of differing viewpoints and is committed to fairness in the workplace. There are many examples of employees publishing articles and books in their private capacity that do not reflect Department views.

    Yeah, right. I call bullshit. It would be cool if they would cite one published book besides mine critical of the State Department written by an active duty, employed Foreign Service Officer. I say they can’t because there isn’t one. And since they said “many” and “books,” let’s have more than one example please. Put up or shut up State.

    At the same time, the Department of State has an obligation to ensure that official information is released in an authorized and appropriate manner, that classified and other protected material is not improperly disclosed, and that the views an employee expresses in his or her private capacity are not attributed to the U.S. government.

    Actually, I agree with this.

    Can State point to a single instance where I have released official information not already available elsewhere, absent perhaps my book, which was approved (perhaps by accident) by the State Department? Even if that is true, about when was State planning on releasing anything about the failure of the PRT program in Iraq? The only thing I have seen is a crude propaganda video about how wonderful the PRT program was.

    Can State point to any classified information I have disclosed? Way back in October, the State Department’s Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Pubic Affairs Dana Smith claimed I revealed classified CIA info in my book. She sent a public unclassified fax to my New York publisher listing the alledged classified info (Doh!). That was that; we never heard back from Smith, the FBI, the Justice Department or the CIA on that made-up bunch of garbage howler.

    And a link to Wikileaks counts as disclosing classified info, as State has claimed, even though the linked document is still on the web and has been quoted in several newspapers before me, and even though when I asked if I should take the link down State said not to?

    Lastly, is there anyone anywhere who thinks this blog, with its daily flow of sarcasm, offensive criticism, swear words, evil clown photos, Simpsons references and sad attempts at humor might be confused with an official US Government statement? Even if the owned-by-the-People State Department seal appears? And lastly, for the deeply confused, the State Department recommended disclaimer appears below each of these blog posts. Duh.

    The point is this: I agree with the State Department on these restrictions. I agree so much that I have not violated them.

    Foreign Service Officers and other employees are well aware that they are expected to meet these obligations.

    I have met all of my obligations State. You cleared my book. I never revealed classified info, personnel information, or pretended to be making official statements. Face it– you just do not like what I have written and you have retaliated because of that. You don’t like free speech that criticizes you. You don’t like when someone makes fun of the Secretary. You don’t like when someone blows the whistle on your massive money pit in Baghdad. You don’t like when your own employees exercise the same rights you demand for bloggers in China, because this time it is you, not the evil Reds, who are being called out.

    I guess when you throw pies at clowns you can expect to get some whipped cream on your clothes.

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    Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

    Posted in Democracy, Embassy/State

    State Department Rebuttal to My Book

    September 28, 2011 // Comments Off on State Department Rebuttal to My Book

    The State Department has a long history of responding negatively to things in the public sphere that are anything short of complimentary, a vengeful side for employees who violate omerta, and no tolerance for critical discussion. They also really lack a sense of humor.

    So it was with some interest that I found what looks like State Department press guidance being used as a snot rag by some homeless guy at the Foggy Bottom Metro station this morning. I can’t speak to its authenticity (best check Wikileaks in a few days) and the Department will neither confirm nor deny nor cover their nose while sneezing…


    — Mr. Van Buren is a disgruntled employee/ex-employee and his remarks are his own. (If asked: don’t believe anything he says, he’d rather work at Walmart)

    — We have not read Mr. Van Buren’s remarks and thus have no comment (hope the news cycle makes this all go away)

    — Redacted

    — We’ll have a toady write a “personal” Op-Ed that we’ll force some newspaper to publish as our snappy comeback in a week or two. Look for that.

    — We disagree with Mr. Van Buren’s assessment. The proud men and women of the military and the Department of State deserve better (wave flag until commercial)

    — We have no comment but to wish Mr. Van Buren well on his new venture (imply he got fired for cause)

    — Mr. Van Buren was a low-level employee without access to the events and information he claims to have knowledge of (so take that loser!)

    — No comment (but leak to someone that Van Buren is a crazy man, years of bad behavior, should’ve been dropped a long time ago, really off the rails, Diplomatic Security has had their eye on him for years, he just made this up to get money for his meth habit, his mother poses for Crack Whore Magazine…)

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    Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

    Posted in Democracy, Embassy/State