Clinton Loyalists At Foggy Bottom Are Outraged Over Tillerson Push To Fulfill FOIA Requests, Here's Why...

Nearly a month ago, in an October 17th email to all State Department employees, Rex Tillerson announced his decision to ramp up FOIA processing to clear a backlog of requests.  As part of the new effort, Tillerson set an ambitious—some say implausible—goal of clearing the massive backlog by the end of 2017.

Of course, while more transparency, rather than less, from government entities is generally considered a positive thing, the army of Clinton loyalists still occupying career positions at the State Department are suddenly concerned about efforts to speed the disclosure of documents from the Clinton era and say it's nothing more than a political witch hunt.  From Politico:

Tillerson says his goal is transparency. But many State workers fear the real reason is political: expediting the public release of thousands of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s official emails.

 

"It's a remarkable misuse of resources to advance what is at its core a partisan political aim," one affected State employee said. "We all know what's going on. And, of course, we're all unhappy that we're being made a part of it."

Tillerson’s email, among other things, said the department’s FOIA backlog stretches back roughly a decade...ironically, that's about how long ago Hillary Clinton took over as Secretary of State...though we're certain that's just a coincidence.

According to Judicial Watch, the State Department has yet to process around 40,000 pages of at least 72,000 records which contain Clinton emails. However, State Department officials have indicated they believe that many of those still-unreleased documents are duplicates of information already shared with the public.

The issue spotlights the deepening distrust towards Tillerson at Foggy Bottom, where his attempts to restructure the department, cut its budget and centralize policy-making have already hurt morale. But it is drawing applause from conservative groups, who have been pressuring Tillerson to act on a backlog of 13,000 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests — many of them relating to emails and other records from Clinton’s tenure.

 

“We haven't understood why there's been a slow-walking of releasing records, and we've been quite public in counseling the administration to take an approach of extreme transparency,” said Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, a conservative activist group that has sued the Trump administration for more Clinton documents.

 

“It looks like someone's listening,” Fitton added.

Tillerson Clinton

Still while many State Department employees view Tillerson's transparency push as a smear campaign targeted at Clinton, others view it as an attempt to increase natural attrition at the department by assigning senior-level employees to menial FOIA duty. 

As we've noted before, Tillerson has said he wants to cut at least 2,300 State Department employees through a combination of buyouts and attrition.  That said, buyouts are expensive and natural attrition from cushy government positions can be difficult to come by without the right "catalyst"...

The staffers also suspect the move — which will reassign many of them from far more substantive duties and has already sparked a union complaint — is meant to force many of them to resign out of frustration with what are essentially clerical positions.

 

Current and former career diplomats scoff at such talk. They say the real story is Tillerson’s contempt for a State Department workforce he sees as bloated, and one which President Donald Trump views as a Democratic stronghold loyal to Clinton, who served as secretary of state from 2009-2013.

 

While many of the people assigned to open-records duty are lower-level staffers and interns, some have previously held prestigious posts, helping shape U.S. foreign policy and engaging in high-level diplomacy.

 

"Nothing better illustrates the view of the Trump administration that U.S. diplomats are nothing more than overpaid clerks," said Thomas Countryman, a retired career foreign service officer who served as assistant secretary of state in the Obama administration.

So what say you?  Is Tillerson's transparency push all about attacking Clinton or slashing the State Department headcount...perhaps a bit of both?

Two Birds

Comments

The Wizard jcaz Tue, 11/07/2017 - 14:19 Permalink

Tillerson says his goal is transparency. But many State workers fear the real reason is political: expediting the public release of thousands of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s official emails. "It's a remarkable misuse of resources to advance what is at its core a partisan political aim," one affected State employee said. "We all know what's going on. And, of course, we're all unhappy that we're being made a part of it."What is political? Is holding back information considered "political"?

In reply to by jcaz

True Blue Withdrawn Sanction Tue, 11/07/2017 - 14:49 Permalink

Damn right, they are interchangable parts -like most other clerks. Maybe that swap should be a matter of routine; say every five years or so, before they can become entranched. Also, they should be reassigned into different working groups etc. so their petty cliques are broken up too.And I love the excuse for not releasing more requested documents:believe that many of those still-unreleased documents are duplicates of information already shared with the public.Yeah, by Julian Assange.

In reply to by Withdrawn Sanction

Antifaschistische Withdrawn Sanction Tue, 11/07/2017 - 15:03 Permalink

Let's not forget...or, perhaps let me enlighten those who never knew.  During the Obama administration the advancement of what we can simply call "affirmative action" programs was ratcheted up several degrees.  It came from left, right and center. previously disadvantaged classes, women, 'minorities', those of african descent, "small business" programs (i.e. hire a minority to scalp profits off of .gov contracts).but all these programs help imbed virtual operatives inside of all .gov organizations.

In reply to by Withdrawn Sanction

Yog Soggoth Withdrawn Sanction Tue, 11/07/2017 - 15:52 Permalink

I can't for the life of me figure out why you just can't let a government employee go because they are not needed, so why not put them in positions that are needed? If they don't like their new position, they are free to leave. What do they think this is, a job for life, and they get to pick what they want to do? I seem to remember Obama wanting a transparent term. Tillerson is just honoring his wishes.

In reply to by Withdrawn Sanction

Endgame Napoleon Beam Me Up Scotty Tue, 11/07/2017 - 14:20 Permalink

These are work emails, right, and work is work, not a personal activity, although that is not the way it is in Anerica’s family-friendly, mom-dominated workplaces. That is for sure.

The State Department has a ton of employees, traveling around the world and doing what some countries’ leaders might regard as meddling at the expense of US taxpayers. Those funds could be spent on this country’s needs.

Why is it necessary for our government to promote a certain type of education or maternal nutrition in a foreign country, for instance? I have heard State Department officials on C-SPAN, delivering long treatises on such issues.

When they are in these foreign countries, they also often make deep-pocketed business contacts who end up impacting American policy in globalist ways that do not always serve the interests of US citizens.

Attrition is awful when done via bullying, the preferred method of frequently absentee, back-watching mom gangs in low-level government offices, $10-per-hour call centers and $10-to-$12-per-hour corporate back offices. I do not see why doing “lowly” clerical work is akin to this bullying.

In reply to by Beam Me Up Scotty

bh2 Saucy-Jack Tue, 11/07/2017 - 13:56 Permalink

Assigning underworked and overpaid government clerks to clerical work is the ultimate insult.When they run out of FOI requests to process, I'm sure a lot more will come piling in. Idle hands do the devil's work -- so keep those civvy-servs busy doing something they hate until they resign. Then don't rehire.

In reply to by Saucy-Jack

BarkingCat hound dog vigilante Tue, 11/07/2017 - 16:12 Permalink

I would have someone start a political consulting company and then start recruiting these schmucks.Offer them a very juicy salary and scoop up as many of the high and mid level ones as possible.Set it up like a think tank and have them get together and pontificate on current events and various policies. Work them as teams so they have lots of interaction with each other and also have them create white papers on the topics they are looking at. Make it seam like a wet dream of a job. Then after sucking out as much of them as desired from their protected government swamp creature careers,  fold the company.

In reply to by hound dog vigilante