State Department

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China Threatens US Over Diplomat's Taiwan Visit

Krach is highest-level State Department official to visit island in decades

(Newser) - A senior US State Department official is arriving in Taiwan on Thursday for a three-day visit, prompting a threat of possible retaliation from China. US Undersecretary of State Keith Krach is to meet Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and other senior officials, the island's foreign ministry said Thursday. Krach, who... More »

Lebanon's Leaders Received Dire Warning 3 Weeks Ago

Report, letter warned Beirut could be leveled if chemicals weren't secured

(Newser) - Security officials warned Lebanon's president and prime minister that the 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored in Beirut's port could explode, destroying the city, just two weeks before that more or less happened. That's according to Reuters , which got its hands on a state security report... More »

State Department's New Watchdog Quits

Stephen Akard's departure follows predecessor's abrupt firing

(Newser) - The State Department’s acting inspector general resigned abruptly on Wednesday following the firing of his predecessor in circumstances now being investigated by Congress. Stephen Akard announced his resignation just two days after Democrats issued subpoenas for several of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's top aides to answer questions... More »

Iran: We Have Detained Leader of Group Based in California

Jamshid Sharmahd is accused of planning attacks

(Newser) - Iran on Saturday said it detained an Iranian-American leader of a little-known California-based militant opposition group for allegedly planning a 2008 attack on a mosque that killed 14 people and wounded over 200 others, the AP reports. Iran's Intelligence Ministry also alleged Jamshid Sharmahd of the Kingdom Assembly of... More »

'Outrageous': US Boots China From Consulate

Officials seen burning documents on Tuesday

(Newser) - The US has ordered China to close its consulate in Houston in "one of the biggest blows to diplomatic ties between the two countries in decades," reports Bloomberg . Firefighters responded to reports of smoke at the consulate late Tuesday as footage showed officials burning documents in barrels in... More »

Pompeo Announces Sanctions on Huawei

Certain employees of Chinese tech companies to face visa restrictions

(Newser) - The State Department accused the world's largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer of human right abuses Wednesday, saying it would impose visa restrictions on employees of China's Huawei. The announcement came a week after the State Department accused China of human rights abuses and a day after the UK said... More »

Dozens of US Diplomats Fell Ill. Then, an 'Extraordinary Step'

Officials at embassy in Riyadh contacted Congress when State Department failed to respond: 'NYT'

(Newser) - Diplomats in the midst of a coronavirus outbreak inside the US Embassy in Saudi Arabia went outside official channels to reach out to Congress last month, fearing their health was in jeopardy. Dozens had fallen ill following a birthday barbecue, and a Sudanese driver for the diplomats had died, the... More »

Reporter Asks About Bolton's Book, Gets Muted

During a phone briefing on ... press freedom

(Newser) - "AT&T, we can mute that line." That was the bulk of the response from State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus on Monday when, during a phone briefing on Chinese propaganda, a reporter tried to ask about John Bolton's new book. The Reuters journalist was asking if any... More »

Report: Congressional Committees Looking Into Pompeo Dinners

NBC: Taxpayer-funded 'Madison Dinners' hosted by Pompeo are now under scrutiny

(Newser) - The State Department inspector general who was abruptly fired on Friday may have been aware of fancy dinners hosted by Mike Pompeo and his wife on the taxpayer's dime. That’s according to NBC News , which reports Steve Linick last week made "some type of inquiry" to the... More »

Democrats See 'Troubling' Saudi Link in Watchdog's Firing

Steve Linick was investigating decision to allow arms sales

(Newser) - State Department Inspector General Steve Linick was looking into a lot more than dog-walking and errand-running when he was abruptly fired on Friday, House Democrats say. Lawmakers have confirmed that the watchdog's other investigations included a probe of President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's decision last... More »

Pompeo Controversy Involves Dog Walking, Dry Cleaning

Watchdog was investigating whether secretary of state had aide running errands, say reports

(Newser) - New details are emerging about the controversial firing of a government watchdog, and they are not the stuff of high-stakes political intrigue. Instead, they are the stuff of mundane personal errands, such as dog-walking, picking up dry cleaning, and making dinner reservations. The watchdog who got fired was investigating whether... More »

Democrats Launch Inquiry Into Latest Trump Firing

President fired State Department inspector general, reportedly at Pompeo's urging

(Newser) - Late Friday, President Trump fired the State Department's inspector general . By Saturday, the New York Times reports, Democrats in the House and Senate had started an investigation into Steve Linick's dismissal. In a letter informing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Trump wrote only that he'd lost confidence in... More »

For 3rd Time in 2 Months, Trump Fires Government Watchdog

Steve Linick, State Department's inspector general, was said to have been investigating Mike Pompeo

(Newser) - President Trump has fired the State Department's inspector general, and Democrats say the timing of the watchdog's removal is suspect. Per the Wall Street Journal , Trump penned a congressional letter indicating he was taking Steve Linick out of his role in 30 days because he'd lost confidence... More »

Looking to Get a New Passport? Forget About It for Now

Unless you have 'life-or-death emergency' or are renewing, State Dept. says passports are on hold

(Newser) - The State Department wasn't kidding when it put out its "level four" travel advisory last month urging Americans not to go abroad amid the coronavirus pandemic. CNN reports that on Friday, the department put up a "passport operations" update on its website , and the upshot of that... More »

Roughly 33K Americans Still Can't Get Home

A traveler in Peru says his case 'was comical at first, I was laughing'

(Newser) - Some 33,000 Americans are still struggling to get back home amid the growing coronavirus pandemic, NBC News reports. Some 15,440 have already returned, but so many are stuck abroad that some are just planning to stay until the pandemic is over. "In some places, people have decided... More »

US Issues Unprecedented Warning Against Travel Abroad

Level 4 'Do Not Travel' advisory applies to the entire rest of the world

(Newser) - The Trump administration has upgraded its already dire warning to Americans against all international travel as the coronavirus outbreak spreads, the AP reports. The State Department on Thursday issued a new alert urging Americans not to travel abroad under any circumstances and to return home if they are already abroad... More »

Marie Yovanovitch Says State Department Is in Trouble

Ousted ambassador says leaders lack 'moral clarity'

(Newser) - In some of her first public remarks since she played a major role in impeachment proceedings, former ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch warned that the State Department is in trouble. Yovanovitch, who was ousted after pressure from President Trump's allies last year, spoke about the "hollowing out" of... More »

Report: Ukraine Wants Money Back From US on 6 More Deals

Kyiv reportedly put down payments on $30M arms, ammo deals held up by US for at least a year

(Newser) - The impeachment of President Trump revolved around a midsummer phone call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and the holdup of almost $400 million in US military aide to the country in its war with Russia. But according to three Ukrainian officials and an ex-US senior official who talked to BuzzFeed... More »

Pompeo's NPR Feud Continues With a 'Perfect Message'

Secretary of state says barring reporter from trip after dust-up with another reporter is appropriate

(Newser) - After Mike Pompeo berated NPR journalist Mary Louise Kelly last month in an expletive-filled rant for turning a discussion about Iran to Ukraine and ex-US Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, the State Department took an apparent retaliatory step against one of Kelly's colleagues: Michele Kelemen was barred from the press pool... More »

Ex-Ambassador to Ukraine Leaves State Department

Impeachment witness had been removed from her post

(Newser) - Marie Yovanovitch, who was forced out as US ambassador to Ukraine and became a witness in the House impeachment inquiry, has retired from the State Department. A career diplomat, she was in the foreign service for 33 years, in posts under Democratic and Republican presidents, NPR reports. After being ousted... More »

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