State Department

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Blinken's Own Staffers Warned Him of Quick Afghan Collapse

State Department chief received internal document on July 13

(Newser) - The White House says nobody anticipated that Afghanistan would fall so quickly. But the Wall Street Journal is out with a scoop about an internal State Department cable dated July 13 that warned things were about to get very bad in a hurry:
  • Warning: The cable, signed by 23 staffers,

Blinken Denounces Carving of Swastika at State Department

Etching occurred inside the building's security perimeter

(Newser) - A swastika carved into an elevator car has been discovered at the State Department in Washington—in a location within the building's security perimeter. The elevator is close to the office of the special envoy charged with monitoring and opposing anti-semitism, Axios reports. Secretary of State Antony Blinken emailed...

US Passports Are Getting a Third Gender Option

State Department says applicants can now self-select gender

(Newser) - Under changes announced by the State Department on Wednesday, American passports will still list a person's gender—but it will be up to the individual whether it says M or F, and a third option is on the way. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said in a release that...

12 CIA Agents on 3 Continents Treated for 'Havana Syndrome'

That's just so far this year; total cases number more than 130: reports

(Newser) - More than 130 US personnel within the CIA, State Department, Defense Department, and other agencies have suffered ailments, including what could be permanent brain damage, as a result of mysterious incidents that began five years ago—far more than the 60 cases that have been publicly disclosed. That's according...

US: No Deal With Iran to Swap Prisoners

State media issued report that US says 'unfortunately' isn't true

(Newser) - Iran said through state media Sunday that the US has agreed to a deal in which prisoners would be freed in exchange for the release of $7 billion in its frozen assets. The US immediately said there's no such agreement. The reports "are not true," said State...

US to Put 'Do Not Travel' Label on 80% of World's Nations

State Department discourages Americans from going abroad during pandemic

(Newser) - The State Department doesn't like the idea of Americans traveling to other nations during the pandemic, and it's about to make that clear. About 80% of the world's countries are getting the "Do Not Travel" warning, the Washington Post reports, up from 16% as of Monday....

Pompeos Broke Ethics Rules With Personal Tasks: Report
Watchdog: Pompeo
Broke Ethics Rules

Watchdog: Pompeo Broke Ethics Rules

Staff members were asked to pick up the dog and make salon appointments, report says

(Newser) - More than 100 times, Mike Pompeo or his wife, Susan, asked State Department employees to handle errands and personal tasks for them, such as booking salon appointments and picking up the family dog. The former secretary of state told investigators the requests were minor, the sort of things friends do...

Trump Appointee Arrested for Role in Capitol Riot

Federico Klein accused of assaulting police officers

(Newser) - One of the latest people arrested in connection with the Capitol riot is a former State Department aide who worked on former President Trump's 2016 campaign. Federico Klein, 42, is the first known Trump appointee facing charges over the Jan. 6 attack, Politico reports. According to documents seen by...

Biden Makes Big Break From Trump on Foreign Policy
Biden Makes Big Break
From Trump on Foreign Policy

Biden Makes Big Break From Trump on Foreign Policy

'This war must end,' he says of Yemen conflict

(Newser) - President Biden, declaring that "America is back," delivered his first diplomatic address as president Thursday. He outlined several policies that reverse those of the Trump administration, and one that also breaks with an Obama administration policy that he helped shape, the New York Times reports. Biden, calling Saudi...

Pompeo's Trip to Europe, Just Announced, Is Canceled

State Department says the Biden transition is the reason, not threats of violence

(Newser) - Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has canceled what would have been his final official trip abroad as concerns grow over potential violence at next week's presidential inauguration, the State Department said Tuesday. Less than 18 hours after announcing that Pompeo would be traveling to Brussels on Wednesday to close...

Critics Raise Alarm on 11th-Hour Foreign Policy Move
Critics Raise Alarm on
11th-Hour Foreign Policy Move
the rundown

Critics Raise Alarm on 11th-Hour Foreign Policy Move

Designation of Houthi rebels as terrorists could make it harder to deliver food amid crisis

(Newser) - The Trump administration just made two big foreign policy moves. The one that drew most of the headlines was the designation of Cuba as a sponsor of terrorism. The other, though, is causing plenty of consternation on Capitol Hill and among humanitarian groups. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that...

State Department Site Briefly Said Trump's Term Ended

It was the work of a disgruntled employee, sources say

(Newser) - Biography pages for President Trump and VP Mike Pence on the State Department website briefly stated on Monday that their terms ended that day. BuzzFeed and PBS have screenshots. According to two currently-serving diplomats, it was a disgruntled employee who put up the fake message. The pages have since been...

US Shutters 2 Remaining Consulates in Russia

US Embassy in Moscow will now be the only American diplomatic outpost in Russia

(Newser) - Just days after news broke of a huge monthslong hack against American government agencies and Fortune 500 companies, a breach suspected to have been carried out by Russia, the United States is shuttering its last two consulates there. The US Consulate in Vladivostok will see its doors closed for good,...

Barely Anyone Goes to State Dept.'s Indoor Holiday Party

More than 900 were reportedly invited

(Newser) - Perhaps America's appetite for attending indoor parties during a pandemic is waning? The Washington Post reports an annual State Department holiday party that was to be hosted by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his wife had anemic turnout on Tuesday. Of the 900-plus guests invited, about 70 RSVP'...

Watchdog Mostly Clears Travel by Susan Pompeo

Six of the eight trips weren't properly approved, report says

(Newser) - An independent probe into the travel of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's wife has concluded that the trips with her husband on official business did not violate federal ethics rules. But, in a report released Thursday, the department's acting inspector general, Matthew Klimow, also determined that the State...

Report Finds Culprit Behind Mystery US Diplomat Illnesses

'Directed' microwave energy apparently sickened envoys in Havana and China

(Newser) - A new report by a National Academy of Sciences committee has found that “directed” microwave radiation is the likely cause of illness among American diplomats in Cuba and China. The study commissioned by the State Department and released Saturday is the latest attempt to find a cause for the...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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