Created on Friday, 18 May 2012 15:59
Written by Kabul Press
appears that a five-year old child can do a better job than the State
Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) when it comes to
selecting secure locations for new U.S. consulates.
Take the example of
Mazar-e Sharif in northern Afghanistan.
The State Department wanted to
open a consulate in this city and for the past two years it has been
publicizing this event to the Afghan people as a major diplomatic goal.
DS selected a former hotel in Mazar-e Sharif for the site. The problems,
which DS officials apparently failed to recognize, include that the
hotel shares a common wall with a local market and that the hotel is
surrounded by taller structures that Taliban forces could use to shoot
down at the Consulate.
The Associated Press reported
two weeks ago that
after spending $80 million on renovations, the State Department
determined that the site was disastrously unsafe and it has decided to
abandon plans to open the Consulate. It was also learned that DS
officials failed to competently oversee the renovation efforts at this
hotel, which were so sloppily performed that the building was considered
unsafe to occupy.
State Department’s decision may come as a shock to
Afghanistan-watchers. Remember, according to U.S. Embassy press
releases: there is constant progress; the war is being won; the Taliban
are in retreat, and the war is scheduled to be over in 2014.
in Afghanistan is that the Taliban are surging and the Afghan
countryside is less and less safe, as are the major cities. The only
area where the U.S. is progressing is in its news conferences. They have
progressed to the same level of credibility as the Taliban.
this month the Taliban announced the commencement of its Spring
Offensive, code-named al-Farooq, which is one of the historical names of
the 7th Century Caliph Umar.
The Caliph was a military genius but also
was renowned for his fairness and dedication to justice. He led a simple
and humble personal life, yet he massively expanded the reach and
influence of Islam.
While U.S. officials have publicly dismissed the new
Taliban offensive, privately they fear the growing expansion and reach
of the Taliban. As a result, U.S. Embassy officials are retreating back
to Kabul and the U.S. is ceding more and more territory to the Taliban.
Three years and a hundred billion in U.S. taxpayer dollars appear to
have achieved little in the Afghan countryside. As the American military
surge evaporates, the Taliban are returning to all those areas that
they were temporarily pushed from.
This is simply the latest in a
never-ending string of scandals caused or contributed to by the Bureau
of Diplomatic Security.
1. The massive U.S. Embassy cost overruns in Baghdad;
2. The killing of Iraqi civilians by Blackwater in Nisour Square, Baghdad in 2007;
3. The ArmorGroup sex scandal in Kabul;
4. The repeated hit and run incidents by Embassy security vehicles in Peshawar;
5. The hit and run killing in Lahore in 2011 by an Embassy security vehicle;
6. The repeated security clearance suspension abuses within the State Department;
7. The shipping of substandard chemical warfare suits to U.S. embassies in 2008;
The issuance of substandard body armor, which might have contributed to
the deaths of Embassy employees Steven Lee Farley (2008) and Terry
9. The counterespionage failures, including that of Walter Myers, who was discovered by the FBI instead of DS; and
10. A history of retaliating against State Department whistleblowers.
Kabul Press documented some of these DS abuses in its 2011
investigative report: “U.S. Diplomats Fear Bureau of Diplomatic
One would think that this consulate debacle and DS’
“what me worry” attitude toward security would cause Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton to immediately fire DS’s senior management.
Unfortunately accountability like fiscal responsibility are not
currently in the State Department’s dictionary, so nothing will happen.
the same time and little noticed is the fact that DS officials, in a
bizarre twist, are supporting one of their agents who has been charged
with second-degree murder by prosecutors in Hawaii. The case involved
the 2011 murder of Hawaiian resident Kollin Elderts by DS agent Chris
According to published reports, Agent Deedy was assigned to
Hawaii to provide security for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation
(APEC) conference in November 2011. In the early morning hours of
November 5, 2011, Deedy, accompanied by two other men and a woman
(presumably also DS agents) were at a nightclub and reportedly had words
with Mr. Elderts. They then apparently followed him to a local
McDonalds restaurant at 3:00 a.m. where more words were exchanged and an
altercation took place during which time Mr. Deedy reportedly fired
three shots, one of which killed Mr. Elderts. While Mr. Deedy claimed
self-defense and Mr. Elderts had alcohol and drugs in his system, the
Hawaiian prosecutors apparently decided to file murder charges after
reviewing the security video from inside the restaurant. There is a
campaign underway in Hawaii called “Justice for Kollin.”
The story was
reported worldwide, including by the British Daily Mail
on November 7,
incidents happen and Mr. Deedy is presumed to be innocent, the State
Department’s handling of the case is suspect. The Department reported
that Mr. Deedy is back at work at a desk job at DS. This is astonishing
as all jobs within DS require an active security clearance. This means
that being charged with murder is not a sufficient basis within the
State Department for suspending a security clearance!
November 2011 the Director of the Diplomatic Security Service, Scott P.
Bultrowicz, reportedly issued an E-mail to all his DS employees
regarding the case. The E-mail was leaked to the news media by outraged
DS officials. [Note to President Obama - not all leaks are against the
public interest]. Bultrowicz essentially issued a gag order which
prohibited any E-mail discussion of Mr. Deedy, his state of mind or the
incident because all such e-mails “may be subject to discovery” (by the
Hawaii prosecutors). The E-mail comes close to being obstruction of
justice, but the U.S. Justice Department will almost certainly ignore
it. Director Bultrowicz refused to discuss the other three agents
involved in the matter, their role and whether they are facing any
What is needed within the Bureau of
Diplomatic Security is the same system of checks and balances that
exists in all major police departments, which is an independent internal
affairs unit patterned on that of the New York Police Department. Until
there is such oversight, the State Department will continue to lurch
from scandal to scandal, with America’s image being further degraded
with each new incident.