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Monday, June 9, 2014

Big Fraud in the Far Abroad, Part V: It's Still Mostly About Me

By turns, I was furious, outraged, and feeling utterly betrayed after the phone call from my friend. This began some of the darkest days of my career in the Foreign Service. I always had prided myself on honesty and integrity at work. I now felt that a quarter-century of dedicated service, of always going where sent without question, of keeping the secrets, and of doing what I was told had to be done was being flushed away. I could barely breathe. I got up from my chair and stormed out of my office, tore across the front office suite, opened the Ambassador's door and barged into his office. He was meeting the RSO. Both were startled to see me, and, I imagine, the fury in my face and to hear it in my voice.

Before either could say anything, I snapped out, "Am I being investigated? If so, for what? If not, why is Mr. BS telling half the Dulles VIP lounge that I am?"

The Ambassador went pale and then red, he snapped his jaw shut. He looked at the RSO, who made a nodding gesture, pointed at the Ambassador, and said, "Sir, you should tell him, unless you want me to."

I stood glaring at one and then the other. "Well? What the hell is going on?"

The Ambassador said, "Sit down." I did. He then proceded, "It was my decision not to inlude you in the investigation we have on Long and AC. You deal with her multiple times a day, and I thought it would be uncomfortable for you to have to deal with her knowing that she was being investigated."

I stood up, "I quit. I hand in my resignation right now." The Ambasador asked the RSO to leave the room. "Stop being a baby. You took one for the team. Suck it up."

I wasn't buying it. "I don't understand this at all. Who else knows about this investigation?" He rattled off about five names. "You trust them more than you do me? People under me have kept this secret from me? What do you think they thought? No wonder, BS is going around saying I am being investigated. This stinks."

The Ambassador said, "Look, maybe I made a mistake. To his credit, the RSO was opposed to my decision. I don't know anything about why BS is going around saying you're being investigated. You're not. You can confirm that with the RSO. I am going to send BS a message now and straighten this out. Get read in on the investigation. Tell the RSO I said to give you everything."

I got up and left without another word. Yes, I got read in on the investigation--details to follow--but the relationship with the Ambassador and the RSO never fully recovered. We remained professional and cordial on the surface, but something had died. I just wanted to get out of Colombo. I decided to stay, however, because now I really wanted to see this investigation through to the end.

I sent a rocket email to the office of the Director General demanding that they step in and tell BS to knock it off. I got back an unctuous message saying that, of course, the DG was concerned about the reputation of FSOs, and, of course, the DG could not approve of the maligning of an FSO, and, of course, the DG worried about the compromise of sensitive investigations, but the DG's office knew nothing about any investigation and I would have to take this matter up elsewhere. I still have that email; it's in the Public Storage unit I will be emptying tomorrow.

I did take the matter up elsewhere. I demanded that the RSO send a message to the head of State Department Security in Washington telling him that BS was risking compromise of a major investigation, and maligning me. The RSO did so. To his credit, the head of DS, a former USAF General and a man of considerable integrity, read the Riot Act to BS. The Ambassador, also to his credit, called BS, who told him, "Yeah, that was my bad. If I absolutely have to, I will apologize to Amselem." He never did apologize, but did stop interfering in my onward assignment. Clearly, BS, a strong supporter of Long and no fan of mine, had been embarrassed by the investigation of his pet FSO. He had been pushing her for a cushy, and much sought job in New Zealand. BS went on to achieve infamy for leaking certain classified information to a journalist, and allowing another person to take the blame. You can probably guess who this is, but that's all I will say about him. Lawyers, you understand.

Next episode will be more interesting, and won't be all or even mostly about me. I will lay out what the investigation had picked up about Long. Events will begin to move faster, too. Won't just be me whining about how the system mistreated me.

29 comments:

  1. Holy Cow! This is fascinating, and I agree with all the other posters who call for a book. Your writing style is completely captivating. Please put down the boxes and keep writing.

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  2. Is the word "Scooter" worth mentioning?

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    Replies
    1. Or rhymes with "arbitrage"?

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  3. Whitehall, my lips are sealed . . . but I am nodding . . .

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  4. Damn, if it's who (BS) I think it is, then it did go deep. I realize all big orgs have problems, but the rot here is bad, very bad.
    James the Lesser

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  5. I'll bet when the witch hunt was gong on for that leaker later on, you're money was on BS from the beginning.

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  6. Funny you mention that. I "knew" from the beginning of that scandal that he was the one. It was his style. I told several people that my money was on BS as the leaker.

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    Replies
    1. I never did think much of "BS." Much that has occurred since has confirmed my opinion of him.

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    2. The first time BS (or RA) came to my attention was seeing him on C-Span testifying to Congress. I forget the context but he seemed refreshingly blunt and hard-nosed on the topic.

      Later, in CP's State Department, my opinion changed for the worst when other tidbits came our. When it was revealed that he let Scooter twist in the wind, I came to despise the man.

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    3. My opinion underwent a similar evolution - from respect to outright disdain for such a weasel.

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    4. Of course it was his style - as you had it beat over your head already.

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    5. So the whole "I didn't know that was a secret" was a line of cockamamie?

      - reader #1482

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  7. Some time ago I read that BS was also tied to Powell in the army. I wonder what he and Powell were like in the army.

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    1. Well, they were thick as thieves at State beyond the point of insubordination. One word from Powell would have cut the issue off at the knees, but he screwed over his boss with silence and watched from the sidelines.

      I wonder if that's why Rice took over there.

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  8. Matt, the Seventh ReaderJune 10, 2014 at 10:09 AM

    A willingness to resign over damage to your reputation is something out of the 19th Century. The modern man cares nothing for his name; didn't you get the memo?

    In all seriousness, it is refreshing to hear that some people still put a premium on their honor.

    On a different note, who is that picture in your profile? It has been bugging me for a while. Initially, I thought it was Mo from the Three Stooges. Then I thought it was Fu Manchu. Please don't let me wonder any longer.

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    Replies
    1. Ah, my little grasshopper, a magician must keep some of his secrets . . .

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    2. A little Internet sleuthing has revealed the identity of the photo's subject. However, since it's The Dip's secret to reveal or not, I remain mum.

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  9. I always thought that BS was a pompous gasbag who was all about playing the game. He found a perfect companion in CP, who road his "story" to the top in a startling demonstration of the Peter principle.

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  10. I'm so glad you're back. I missed the Diplomad when you had to close up shop. I still have the old blog archived on an old hard drive.

    Welcome Home!

    Dennis
    Babylon, Long Island

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  11. DM - awesome stuff, I am on the edge of my seat waiting to see how this plays out.

    Way better than many books I've read. (Hint, hint...)

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  12. """BS went on to achieve infamy for leaking certain classified information to a journalist, and allowing another person to take the blame. You can probably guess who this is, but that's all I will say about him. Lawyers, you understand. """

    That right there was worth the price of admission.!!!! Wait.!! OK. I'll make it up when you write that book.!! O , bye the way I must be reader #7... Sweet :-)

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  13. "Next episode will be more interesting". Wow.

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  14. We are discussing your newest blog posts in here. We all love your posts.

    http://bar.baen.com/index.php?t=msg&goto=1038476&#msg_1038476

    leaperman

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  15. im reading this tale with great interest, as i do all of diplomad's blogs. i was treated in a manner similar to diplomad in my first and last tours. in the first, my consul general thankfully stepped up to defend me, and forthrightly told the rso and washington to shove it. in the last, my ambo and dcm were happy to take credit for my work (praised in secstate and potus speeches in-country during their visits) and just as content to let the whispers, absent any investigation, continue. reading diplomad's blogs brings back lots of memories, increasingly poor to the taste, of state's leadership (sic). thank you diplomad, i know your hurt and anger. we never met but all your blogs speak for me as well.

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  16. Wow. I couldn't wait for your next post so I tried googling it. This story didn't get much press in the U.S. I'll add to the growing chorus for a book!

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  17. Yes, I've seen how State runs on whispers and inneundo ("corridor reputation"). I'm glad I had the opportunity to serve my country in diplomatic capacity, even if only as a lowly consular scut, but when I saw I was on the way out, a more senior colleague took me aside and said, "Now you know what a chickens--t organization this can be".

    Still, I've reached the conclusion that you can't make anything out of cookie dough except cookies. I've also come to the realization that all governments, whether they try to be or don't, are representative of their people. If we had a people who were moral, religious, and respecters of integrity, we'd be in great shape. If we had a people who were religious and immoral, we'd have a sanctimonious froeign policy. If we have a people who are so many self-servers, we'll see the same in our government institutions. If we have a people in whose hearts liberty has died, no set of laws or policies will revive it (Learned Hand was right). State is made up of elite Americans, and nobody else. If it is, as my senior colleague said, "chickens--t", then you can bet that our American elite is, at this unhappy juncture, "chickens--t".

    Yet, Mr. Amselem, maybe you should keep up being a voice in the wilderness that might call us back to what we might be. It's why I always look forward to your posts.

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  18. I wrote a wonderful response. I saved it. You'd hate it.

    regards,

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  19. Mr. Amselem, this is extremely good work. Thank you, sir, for your service. I am deeply sorry that we don't have a good man like you at the head of the State Department.

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