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Nov 15 - “Embarrassing Prevarication and a Remarkable Display of Ineptitude”


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 3 months ago '17        #1
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Ymmot 
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Nov 15 - “Embarrassing Prevarication and a Remarkable Display of Ineptitude”
 

 
“Embarrassing Prevarication and a Remarkable Display of Ineptitude”: A New I.G. Report Details Political Targeting at State

Imperfect as it is, the report details a collaboration between Trumpworld and conservative media outlets like Breitbart to root out Obama holdovers.

On Friday morning, Masha Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, is scheduled to appear on Capitol Hill for the second day of public impeachment hearings. In closed-door testimony last month, Yovanovitch recalled that she was abruptly told to get “on the next plane” from Kiev to Washington, D.C., in May following a “concerted campaign” of “unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives” that began in summer 2018 and led Donald Trump to lose confidence in her ability to serve, and ultimately to her sudden recall. But Yovanovitch—while perhaps the most prominent—is hardly the first seasoned bureaucrat to fall victim to a concerted effort by the conservative media and Trumpworld to dismantle the so-called “deep state” to weed out Obama holdovers in the U.S. government.

A new inspector general report released on Thursday reveals that a purge of individuals Trump allies viewed as insufficiently loyal to the president began in the earliest days of the Trump administration. And arguably, it was a failure to crack down on this targeting that fostered an environment in which the dismissal of an experienced career diplomat like Yovanovitch failed to garner any real attention, let alone alarm, until a whistle-blower complaint launched the impeachment inquiry.

“[The Trump administration] came into office—at least as far as State is concerned—convinced that the career service was biased against the Trump Administration,” a former high-ranking State Department official told me. “This team, in my view, has simply never understood that the career service works for whoever is the president. And they have acted badly. And probably will continue to do so.”

That the long-awaited I.G. report was released amid the impeachment spectacle, as if to overshadow it, came as little surprise to diplomats I spoke with. The timing is seen as par for the course for this administration. As the Washington media drinks from a fire hose of news breaks, burying bad headlines is a light lift. And for the State Department, the I.G. report is certainly damaging, even if—as sources I spoke with contend—it is still incomplete and disappointing in its conclusions. “The willful failure of the I.G. to connect the obvious dots undermines the very process he is statutorily charged with shepherding,” said Ian Moss, one of the individuals whose allegations were investigated. “That it took almost two years to produce this report and then the transparent decision to delay its release until the middle of an epic news cycle is telling.”

For the report, the inspector general reviewed “allegations of politicized and other improper personnel practices” by State Department officials affecting five individuals during Rex Tillerson’s tenure. The conclusions are mixed, though the inspector general, Steve Linick, does note that this was, in part, because he was “unable to obtain essential information from key decision makers.” But the report does paint a picture of how conservative media targeted career State Department officials and, by design, influenced personnel decisions within the bureau. For instance, Sahar Nowrouzzadeh, a U.S.-born civil servant of Iranian descent, was the subject of an article by Conservative Review titled, “Iran Deal Architect Is Running Tehran Policy at the State Dept.” The outlet referred to Nowrouzzadeh as a “trusted Obama aide” who “burrowed” her way into the bureau. The article was circulated between White House staffers and top political appointees—including Margaret Peterlin, chief of staff to Secretary Tillerson, Christine Ciccone, Peterlin’s deputy, Brian Hook, the director of Policy Planning, Edward Lacey, Hook’s deputy, Matthew Mowers, a senior adviser to Tillerson, and Julia Haller, the acting White House liaison—and set off a wave of unfounded allegations and a discussion of her ouster.

Haller, the acting White House liaison, wrote that Nowrouzzadeh worked on the Iran Deal and claimed that she was “born in Iran and upon my understanding cried when the President won.” Hook, currently a top adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, said, “I’ve emailed friends who tracked the Iran deal for intel on her and waiting to hear back.” And in an email, Lacey a*serted that Nowrouzzadeh was among a group of “Obama/Clinton loyalists not at all supportive of President Trump’s foreign policy agenda…. Other detailees are…fully on board with President Trump’s agenda.” In another email, Ciccone wrote, “Is this person one of the four who refused to shake his hand the first day he started?” At one point, even Newt Gingrich forwarded the article to Peterlin, who then sent it to Mowers and Ciccone.

Nowrouzzadeh even raised concerns about the article with Hook and sought his advice on how to respond to the misinformation in the Conservative Review article. But Hook said “virtually nothing,” Nowrouzzadeh told Linick. Ultimately, in mid-April, Nowrouzzadeh’s detail in the Policy Planning bureau was terminated several months early. In his report, Linick determined Nowrouzzadeh’s “perceived political opinions, perceived a*sociation with former administrations, and her perceived national origin played at least some role” in her early dismissal. “It is my hope that the Inspector General’s findings pertaining to my case help prompt action that will guard against any further such misconduct by members of this or any future administration,” Nowrouzzadeh said in a statement. “I continue to strongly encourage Americans of all backgrounds, including those of Iranian heritage, to consider public service to our nation and to not be discouraged by these findings.” (In a response to the I.G., Hook said, “I made my personnel decision prior to the date that any non-merit factors were discussed internally and for professional and lawful reasons.” And top State Department official T. Ulrich Brechbühl said in a letter that “Department leadership disagrees with the Inspector General’s conclusion” but that Secretary Pompeo will consider taking disciplinary action against Hook.)

In the other cases, Linick failed to reach any real conclusions, citing a lack of cooperation from individuals such as Peterlin or gaps in witnesses’ recollections. But they all followed a similar pattern. For instance, Lawrence Bartlett—identified in the I.G. report as employee four—was similarly targeted by conservative media. In February 2017, Breitbart published an article titled “Top 10 Holdover Obama Bureaucrats President Trump Can Fire or Remove Today” and labeled Bartlett, then an official in the Population, Refugees, and Migration Bureau, as an “active apologist” for the refugee resettlement industry. When Trump appointees sought to remove Bartlett from his position, career officials questioned the push, but Ciccone’s answers amounted to little more than having “lost confidence” in Bartlett. (Bartlett has since been reinstated in the PRM bureau.)

Likewise, Michael Ratney—identified in the I.G. report as employee five—was described in another Conservative Review article as “one of John Kerry’s closest confidantes” and “an Obama administration holdover.” In March 2017, then White House Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon wrote in an email to Peterlin, “We r getting tremendous blowback on this guy. Is he permanent???” And the following month, Hook sent himself an email of a list of career employees that included Ratney after an apparent meeting with former N.S.C. official Derek Harvey, which included notes such as “leaker,” “troublemaker,” and “turncoat.” Ratney was later blocked from serving as a permanent deputy a*sistant secretary in the Near Eastern Affairs Bureau at State and ultimately landed in a faculty position at the National Defense University.

The final two cases involved two State Department employees being sequestered to the Freedom of Information Act Office, a move viewed within Foggy Bottom as a form of retribution. Moss was one; the other was unidentifiable from the I.G. report as details of their experience were redacted after “OIG learned of specific, documented concerns regarding potential retaliation, including physical risk” to this person’s safety. Lee Wolosky, who served as Moss’s boss in the Office of the Special Envoy for Guantanamo Closure, said of the decision to a*sign Moss to the FOIA office, “It is hard to view it as anything other than sort of punitive in nature.” Moss, he added, was viewed as one of the “cream of the crop” at the State Department, as evidenced by his detail to the National Security Council. “If you are coming back from the White House, typically you are put in a really good position…To be put into FOIA review—which is typically where the State Department would put its worst people—is clearly sending a message that either we want to punish you or we just want you to quit.”

Linick was tasked with investigating whether “allegations of unethical conduct while on detail to another agency and because he worked on priorities of the previous administration” contributed to Moss’s a*signment, and why subsequent attempts to move to other positions within the State Department were blocked. Moss identified a detail opportunity in the Bureau of Counterterrorism and Countering Violent Extremism, but his request to accept it was declined in January 2018 at Ciccone’s behest. Then months later, Moss was offered another position in the Department’s Office of Global Criminal Justice. Again, according to the I.G. report, Ciccone sought to block the reassignment, though it was ultimately approved. In his report, Linick found “no evidence of an improper consideration in the personnel decisions at issue,” because Ciccone “never discussed” the allegations Moss made in his previous post as “such considerations in her decision-making.”

Moss, for his part, views the conclusion as a failure on the part of Linick. “At least with respect to me and my case, this report is both an embarrassing prevarication and a remarkable display of ineptitude on the part of the I.G.,” he told me. But it may be a failure that reveals a deeper truth.


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Christmas come early, @Eyesofchaos!


Now what is it that is so damning in this report? The world is ready to hear it.
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 3 months ago '18        #2
Eyesofchaos 
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Lies, link me to the actual report if it even was released
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 3 months ago '04        #3
Real 
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 3 months ago '06        #4
Skateboard T 
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 Eyesofchaos said
Lies, link me to the actual report if it even was released
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 3 months ago '06        #5
Skateboard T 
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Damn. Trump lawst man. Most corrupt president in history? Hard to say. Dumbest president in modern history? Absolutely.
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 3 months ago '17        #6
Ymmot  OP
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 Eyesofchaos said
Lies, link me to the actual report if it even was released
This isn't the Horrowitz Report that you're wetting your pants over, which will also be a huge disappointment for you. I promise you this though, nothing I post will ever be a lie, I do my due diligence and check my sources.
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 3 months ago '19        #7
Stand Down  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x2
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 Skateboard T said
Damn. Trump lawst man. Most corrupt president in history? Hard to say. Dumbest president in modern history? Absolutely.
Which presidents do you got around trumps realm of corruption?

 3 months ago '06        #8
Skateboard T 
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 Stand Down said
Which presidents do you got around trumps realm of corruption?
I’m saying I don’t know, there could have been massively corrupt presidents who got away with it that we just don’t know.
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 3 months ago '18        #9
Eyesofchaos 
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 Ymmot said
This isn't the Horrowitz Report that you're wetting your pants over, which will also be a huge disappointment for you. I promise you this though, nothing I post will ever be a lie, I do my due diligence and check my sources.
Same with Horrowitz lol

 3 months ago '17        #10
Ymmot  OP
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 Eyesofchaos said
Same with Horrowitz lol
No doubt
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 3 months ago '04        #11
gh3tto 
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its hilarious to me the amount of sh*t and garbage these trumptards are willing to swallow for their orange master

sondland with zero qualifications buys his way into ambassador of eu.
dumbfu*ks parrot its in the presidents rights ignoring both how retarded it is to put unqualified people into these positions and that the only intent was to foster more corruption.

thats this administrations entire m.o. inexperienced unqualified inept irresponsible and corrupt retard with bone spurs



Last edited by gh3tto; 11-17-2019 at 03:35 AM..



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