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State Department’s Senior Management Team Resigns

State Department’s Senior Management Team Resigns

“It’s the single biggest simultaneous departure of institutional memory that anyone can remember.”

Top officials have resigned at the State Department before the Senate has confirmed former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State. The Washington Post reported:

Then suddenly on Wednesday afternoon, [undersecretary for management Patrick] Kennedy and three of his top officials resigned unexpectedly, four State Department officials confirmed. Assistant Secretary of State for Administration Joyce Anne Barr, Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Michele Bond and Ambassador Gentry O. Smith, director of the Office of Foreign Missions, followed him out the door. All are career foreign service officers who have served under both Republican and Democratic administrations.

“It’s the single biggest simultaneous departure of institutional memory that anyone can remember, and that’s incredibly difficult to replicate,” said David Wade, who served as State Department chief of staff under Secretary of State John Kerry. “Department expertise in security, management, administrative and consular positions in particular are very difficult to replicate and particularly difficult to find in the private sector.”

The State Department also lost Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security Gregory Starr, who retired on January 20, and director of the Bureau of Overseas Building Operations Lydia Muniz.

Other senior officials in bureaus across the country have left their posts, but these resignations provide a bigger blow to the department “because those offices need to be led by people who know the department and have experience running its complicated bureaucracies.”

No one knows for sure if Kennedy left on his own or if someone pushed him out. He had taken on the responsibility to help the transition to the Trump administration. Him leaving surprised many in the department. One officials told the Post that all of those people “had previously submitted their letters of resignation, as was required for all positions that are appointed by the president and that require confirmation by the Senate, known as PAS positions.”

But Ambassador Richard Boucher, a former State Department spokesman under Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice, said that usually the old team stays put to help the new team transition smoothly. He cannot believe these people left such important positions unmanned:

The officials who manage the building and thousands of overseas diplomatic posts are charged with taking care of Americans overseas and protecting U.S. diplomats risking their lives abroad. The career foreign service officers are crucial to those functions as well as to implementing the new president’s agenda, whatever it may be, Boucher said.

“You don’t run foreign policy by making statements, you run it with thousands of people working to implement programs every day,” Boucher said. “To undercut that is to undercut the institution.”

Don’t forget that Patrick Kennedy remains tangled up in former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email server scandal.

Back in October, the FBI released documents that showed Kennedy attempted to influence the FBI over some emails. He actually proposed a “quid pro quo” to the department to change the classification of an email. Kennedy offered the FBI “additional slots for the bureau overseas.” This means the department would have received permission “to place more Agents in countries they are presently forbidden.”


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Is it not custom, on change of administration, for existing top officials to tender resignation for re-appointment? The news could be that Trump has refused to re-hire so many.

    I seem to recall (sorry, I don’t have a link) reading a couple months ago that a number of Obama era officials were “burrowing in” – that is, they were converting to regular employees in order to avoid being automatically canned as appointees when the new administration came in. I also think I recall that Patrick Kennedy was one of those.

    If my recollection is at all correct (even money on that!), then no, this is not a case of people resigning for the convenience of the new president and finding that they are not to be reappointed. It’s sour grapes, pure and simple.

    MattMusson in reply to nicklevi86. | January 26, 2017 at 4:07 pm

    Usually you have to call Terminix to get rid of this many Pests!

    Arminius in reply to nicklevi86. | January 26, 2017 at 10:35 pm

    That’s exactly what Mike Lee, who covers the State Dept. for the AP said.

    These are political appointees. For instance, undersecretary for management Patrick Kennedy, appointed by George Bush in 2007, left the State Dept. unexpectedly because he didn’t expect his resignation would be accepted. Normally offering one’s resignation is just a formality. Little did he and his minions know Trump didn’t want them to stay on.

    “‘It’s the single biggest simultaneous departure of institutional memory that anyone can remember, and that’s incredibly difficult to replicate,’ said David Wade, who served as State Department chief of staff under Secretary of State John Kerry.”

    The best thing that can happen for the country gets an institutional lobotomy so the whole place suffers institutional memory loss. The DoS has been screwing up for longer than I’ve been alive, and yet they keep trying to do the same things over and over again, but expecting different results.

    Next step: get rid of anyone who thinks armistice lines are borders, advocates for a two state solution, and still believes in the insanity known as the Arab-Isreali peace process.

A new broom sweeps clean.

I’m thinking that the major problem with agencies like the State Dept is “institutional memory” so I’m not quite seeing the problem here.

    When Reagan left office, he said one of his greatest regrets was that he had failed to change the culture of government.

    Here the folks at Foggy Bottom are changing it voluntarily by leaving rather than staying to fight. This is a very good thing.

      myiq2xu in reply to irv. | January 26, 2017 at 2:01 pm

      The State Department offices were built on former swampland. Trump is literally draining the swamp.

      Tom Servo in reply to irv. | January 26, 2017 at 2:02 pm

      There’s actually a great deal of doubt as to whether these departures were actually “voluntary”. Just for background, Patrick Kennedy was the State Dep’t official who repeatedly tried to de-classify the classified info found in Hillary’s e-mails ex post facto; he was one of her most loyal disciples in the state dep’t.

      Patrick Kennedy and his team were the ones who just resigned. If it was voluntary, fine – if it wasn’t voluntary, even better. It would mean that even in government, actions are beginning to have consequences.

        clintack in reply to Tom Servo. | January 26, 2017 at 2:58 pm

        Perhaps a bit of both?

        Maybe they chose to leave when they could make a stink over quitting rather than waiting around to be fired?

      mrtomsr in reply to irv. | January 26, 2017 at 2:19 pm

      Are they leaving because any evidence of wrong doing in their private email for, example would be untouchable? Are they leaving the department or just being reassigned? Did Trump not rehire them? So many questions.

Excellent. Good riddance.
Despite protests of their being essential, these “public servants” have contributed to years of state-department ineptness.

The lights come on, the cockroaches scatter. Kennedy was one of the larger and more squishy ones, just waiting for the shoe.

Headline is totally wrong.

“It’s the single biggest simultaneous departure of officials disloyal to the United States of America”.

Good riddance as these officials who must have known of Mrs Clinton’s unofficial email address putting their loyalty to Mrs Clinton above their loyalty to the United States of America.

The same people that are supposed to protect diplomats overseas just quit? Doesn’t seem like much of a loss, should have quit after Benghazi.

Not even I could have predicted that the swamp would start draining itself.

those offices need to be led by people who know the department and have experience running its complicated bureaucracies

Any department with operations too byzantine to understand is a department to confused to be useful.

The departments I’d expect to be thoroughly riddled with uselessness incarnate are State and Justice. I figured the malefactors would be difficult to root out. But if some leave under their own power, so much the better.

I expect these four have been overheating the paper shredders this past week.

I’m sure the same thing would have happened if Jeb, Rubio or Mitt were POTUS /end sarc.

So these depts need to be led by those who know the depts and have experience running them???? It seems as though those dept have been run the wrong way for too long. Bye-bye!

quiksilverz24 | January 26, 2017 at 2:46 pm

One commenter is noticeably absent from this conversation. Seems when a beneficial event occurs within the Trump admin, he is gone. Unless he is able to find methods to parse words.

It all depends on the meaning of “is” is.

-Not a Trump supporter, but optimistic of the potential for change.

Okay so the group that:

– blew Benghazi security

– planned to rush through a $220+ million payment to Palestinians

– tried to interfere in the FBI investigation of Hillary by lying about classification

– oversaw the disaster of IT security that was Hillary

– lied about almost all of the above

– and generally oversaw a clusterfart of a state department that did many many more things wrong than listed here

What’s the problem?

– Failing enterprises Fire their executives
– Losing football teams Fire their Coach and GM.

I’m starting to like this Trump character. It’s almost like he has run something before in his life as opposed to just run for something.

    SWMerker in reply to PrincetonAl. | January 26, 2017 at 3:23 pm

    Add “were involved in negotiating disastrous Iran nuclear “agreement”, and paid Iran billions in cash.”
    to the above list.

    tobiathan in reply to PrincetonAl. | January 27, 2017 at 7:40 am

    ..and yet the Left still cries foul b/c The God-Emperor Ascended, Lord and Master of His Realm, Protector of We,the People “has no political experience!1!”

    They, hilariously, don’t see the irony of the statement.

“Department expertise in security, management, administrative and consular positions in particular are very difficult to replicate and particularly difficult to find in the private sector.”

I was surprised that some one would actually say this. All of those positions could be filled from the private sector or from other parts of the government.

About the only thing that could need some institutional knowledge would be related to protocol. But, I would say that Obama made some mistakes – remember the iPod with all of his speeches given to Queen Elizabeth, all of his bowing to people and of course, Hillary’s reset button with the wrong Russian words.

It’s only Thursday. What will he do on Friday to top this?

The hardest swamp to drain in DC is at Foggy Bottom. A long ways still to go, but a very good start.

It has been a very good week!

Kennedy gone – one less Clinton tool

These are the people who lied, obstructed congress and broke the law trying to cover up Hillary’s illicit email server.

Good riddance.

Get the fuck out.

They how have time to join the Ignoramus/Useful Idiot Elitest Woman’s March II.

I agree that the departure of these Bozos is a very good thing!

From the reaction of the mainstream media, you would think this was bad news. News Flash! It isn’t.

    JOHN B in reply to gospace. | January 26, 2017 at 9:51 pm

    It is bad news for the mainstream media.

    Loss of leakers who provided stories that deliberately hurt our country and loss of people who support anything that hurts our country–just like the MSM.

Well, it looks like we were right.
According to Breitbart, this is the White House cleaning house.

We have just ended 8 years with Hillary Clinton and John Kerry as SecState. To survive that, what kind of people would these senior administrators have to be? Even if they did not assist the last 2 SecStates to commit actions which are, at best, embarrassing, and, at worst, criminal, it is almost impossible for them not to have had knowledge that such actions were occurring. So, they were going anyway. And, possibly not in a pleasant way. However, in the spirit of the Obama administration, they chose to leave in such a way as to cause the most problem for the incoming administration. It will be interesting to see what documents they took with them.

What’s not to like?
This is like the trash taking itself out.

Good riddance. The only problem is that not enough of them did this.

The state department has had it’s own agenda for decades. Their favorite game is “undermine the republican President”. This isn’t a tragedy, it’s the best damned thing that could possibly happen for the new Secretary of State.

These offices are Presidential at-will appointments; they all resign at the start of a new elected President. Routine.


They were dismissed.