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Mass Foggy Bottom Exodus

By Stephen Lendman

According to the Washington Post, incoming Trump Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s job just got tougher, saying:

“The entire senior level of management officials resigned Wednesday, part of an ongoing mass exodus of senior foreign service officers who don’t want to stick around for the Trump era.”

Once confirmed, he’ll command a ship minus key crew members. His first order of business is replacing those departing - an inauspicious beginning, maybe prelude for turbulent times ahead if adversarial relations with Russia, China, Iran and other independent countries continue.

Leaving are under secretary for management Patrick Kennedy, assistant secretary for administration Joyce Anne Barr, assistant secretary for consular affairs Michele Bond, and office of foreign missions director Gentry Smith.

All are career foreign service officers. In addition, assistant secretary for diplomatic security Gregory Starr retired on January 20. Bureau of overseas building operations Lydia Muniz left the same day.

These officials are responsible for managing the State Department, its overseas posts and staff, WaPo explained. According to John Kerry’s chief of staff David Wade, “(i)t’s the single biggest simultaneous departure of institutional memory that anyone can remember, and that’s incredibly difficult to replicate.”

“Department expertise in security, management, administrative and consular positions in particular are very difficult to replicate and particularly difficult to find in the private sector.”

These departures “are a big loss. They leave a big void. These are very difficult people to replace.”

What’s going on? Will the pattern repeat at other federal agencies? Is it part of a scheme to undermine Trump’s ability to govern effectively? Is it a shot across the bow, warning him against going his own way on key domestic and geopolitical policies?

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.



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