Findings, music, and occasional reflections by Paul Woodward

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U.S. diplomats view Pompeo’s failure to defend foreign service officers as ‘beyond reprehensible’

Nik Steinberg writes:

The lack of accountability for what they see as the administration’s foreign-policy malpractice, several diplomats told me, has undermined already-low morale at the department, which has seen a striking number of resignations under Trump; seen more ambassadorships go to political appointees, as opposed to career diplomats, than at any time since the Franklin Roosevelt administration; and whose experts have been smeared repeatedly by the president and his inner circle experts as “Obama holdovers” or part of the “deep state.” Today, while Yovanovitch, a respected diplomat, was recalled from her post and subjected to a smear campaign by the president, it looks increasingly likely to diplomats that others, such as Rudy Giuliani or Mick Mulvaney who the interviewees said put their personal interest before the national interest, will face no consequences for their actions.

The officers I spoke to reserved their harshest comments for Pompeo, who at the outset of the inquiry wrote to the House Intelligence Committee pledging to use “all means at my disposal to prevent and expose any attempts to intimidate the dedicated professionals whom I am proud to lead and serve alongside in the Department of State.” His actions told a different story. First, he obfuscated when he was asked, and then later admitted that he had been listening in on the infamous call between Trump and Ukraine’s president. On that call, he stayed mum when both presidents insulted Yovanovitch. Then, Pompeo refused to defend her when the transcript was made public. Ambassador Michael McKinley, a 37-year veteran of the Foreign Service who served as Pompeo’s senior adviser, told the House committees leading the impeachment probe that he tried three times to get the secretary to publicly defend Yovanovitch after Trump’s threats were made public, but Pompeo “did not respond at all.” McKinley ultimately resigned, calling the department’s silence on “unacceptable.”

Diplomats called Pompeo’s failure to stand up for Yovanovitch and other Foreign Service officers in the face of Trump’s attacks “beyond reprehensible” and called his silence on her recall “deafening.” [Continue reading…]

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