Kristol Doubles Down

Sep 12 2012 @ 2:33pm

And makes an assertion that can and should be checked:

Romney is right to bring home the weakness of the Obama administration, exemplified in the disgraceful statement issued yesterday, September 11, by the American embassy in Cairo—a statement, I believe, that would have to have been cleared by the State Department.

Was it cleared by Foggy Bottom? That should be easy to find out. As I say, the notion that trying to distance the US government from a mystery-bigot’s movie, when under threat, even while backing the “universal right of free speech” in the same statement, does not seem to me to be misplaced, let alone “disgraceful”. Update: Kristol can believe what he wants – it’s his habit to invent a reality for himself – but this seems dispositive:

The tweet was posted by a foreign service officer, CNN confirmed. Several State Department sources said that the U.S. ambassador to Egypt did not sign off on the original statement, as she was in Washington at the time.

Input from readers with diplomatic backgrounds:

I work in [a State Department office] where we deal with information security directly. (Please don’t name that office, but it just goes to show Kristol’s completely random Hail Mary on this one.) Do you know how many tweets there are from diplomatic missions? Almost all posts have a Twitter feed now, and they are most likely only cleared by public diplomacy Foreign Service Officers. That means it’s a local issue, has nothing to do with “State Department” officials in charge at home. I know for certain we do nothing of the sort, clearing them in this office.

Such a sad situation, infuriating all of us here.

Another:

I’m a former US Foreign Service officer and can tell you that the statement by the US Embassy in Cairo – which, frankly, seems perfectly OK to me to begin with; what’s really so offensive about it that the Obama administration has to “distance” itself from it? – almost certainly wasn’t cleared with DC, because otherwise it wouldn’t have been issued for another day or two! It would have spent that time bouncing back and forth from the Egypt desk up to the Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs and over then to Public Affairs and God knows who else getting massaged, tweaked, edited and finally OK’d. The reason embassies have Public Affairs officers is so they can handle this sort of statement on their own, though doubtless the DCM, acting as charge d’affaires in the absence of the ambassador, signed off on it.