Thursday, August 13, 2015

Exclusive: Kerry Scolds Staff About Leaking to the Press

John Hudson,

image from
[Another] leak that caused considerable heartburn for State Department leadership involved a memo to Kerry from Richard Stengel, a former managing editor of Time magazine and the agency’s undersecretary for public diplomacy and public affairs.
The memo disparages efforts by the U.S. government and its allies to counter the Islamic State’s messaging on social media and says the extremist group’s tweets and Facebook posts have “trumped” the best efforts of the West.
The memo, which was leaked to the New York Times, also describes a working group of the United States and its allies as ineffective — and is potentially insulting to diplomats from Britain and the United Arab Emirates. “The U.A.E. is reticent, the Brits are overeager, and the working group structure is confusing,” said the memo. “When we convened meetings with our counterparts, I am certain we all heard about various initiatives for the first time.”
[State Department spokesman John] Kirby, speaking to FP, said such leaks are “manifestly unhelpful” to the process of conducting sound foreign policy, but emphasized Kerry’s appreciation for the Fourth Estate.
“Secretary Kerry values the work of the media,” said Kirby. “He certainly values the work of everybody here at the State Department and our diplomats around the world and routinely encourages communication with the press about what our hard working diplomats are doing around the world.”

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