In 2012, U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Scott Gration abruptly stepped down from his post. According to a Foreign Policy report by Josh Rogin (now a reporter for Bloomberg), Gration was the subject of a withering evaluation from the State Department:
The impending release of a highly critical report by the State Department’s Inspector General’s office prompted the sudden resignation Friday of U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Scott Gration, according to administration and congressional sources.
The report was described to The Cable by multiple people briefed on its contents as one of the worst reviews of an ambassador’s performance written by the IG’s staff in several years.
Very soon after the Ambassador’s arrival in May 2011, he broadcast his lack of confidence in the information management staff. Because the information management office could not change the Department’s policy for handling Sensitive But Unclassified material, he assumed charge of the mission’s information management operations. He ordered a commercial Internet connection installed in his embassy office bathroom so he could work there on a laptop not connected to the Department email system. He drafted and distributed a mission policy authorizing himself and other mission personnel to use commercial email for daily communication of official government business. During the inspection, the Ambassador continued to use commercial email for official government business. The Department email system provides automatic security, record-keeping, and backup functions as required. The Ambassador’s requirements for use of commercial email in the office and his flouting of direct instructions to adhere to Department policy have placed the information management staff in a conundrum: balancing the desire to be responsive to their mission leader and the need to adhere to Department regulations and government information security standards.
In other words, State Department policy was very clear. Using a private email outside the State Department's secure system was completely unacceptable. If this applied to ambassadors, one would think it was sensible policy for the Secretary of State as well.
Writing on the White House blog, Ambassador Susan Rice, the president’s national security advisor, accuses the Senate of harming national security by not confirming more ambassadorial nominees. Rice contends that the current backlog of forty-eight is unnecessary and harmful:
The political committee for former Montana senator Max Baucus, a Democrat, wrote a large check to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee just days before being confirmed as the new U.S. ambassador to China. According to the DSCC's public filings, Friends of Max Baucus made a donation of $475,000 to the organization on January 31. Read a copy of the filing here, where Baucus's donation is listed on page 6.
Israeli forces returned fire into Syria today with some warning shots, according to the Jerusalem Post. "The IDF fired a warning shot at the Syrian military on Sunday, after a Syrian shell landed in the Golan Heights for the second time in recent days."
President Obama made the case to the ladies of The View that we should "marginalize" the infamous anti-Islam video that supposedly sparked attacks on American embassies across the world by "ignoring it."