“America’s diplomacy power is being completely destroyed, ambassador warns”


SALON

“She added, “There is no denying that our leadership ranks are being depleted at a dizzying speed, due in part to the decision to slash promotion numbers by more than half. The Foreign Service officer corps at State has lost 60 percent of its Career Ambassadors since January. Ranks of Career Ministers, our three-star equivalents, are down from 33 to 19. The ranks of our two-star Minister Counselors have fallen from 431 right after Labor Day to 369 today — and are still falling.” MORE

“State Dept. official allegedly sought sex with minor”


CBS NEWS

A senior State Department official who oversees counter terrorism programs was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of soliciting sex from a minor, reports CBS News correspondent Margaret Brennan.

The department’s director of counterterrorism was charged with one count of attempting to solicit sex from a juvenile, and spent the night in Washington, D.C. jail. FULL POST

“Homes evacuated after ExxonMobil oil pipeline spill in Arkansas”


CBS/AP

A view of some of the damage from an oil spill from an ExxonMobil pipeline that sprung a leak Friday afternoon in Mayflower, Ark., a small city about 20 miles northwest of Little Rock.

A view of some of the damage from an oil spill from an ExxonMobil pipeline that sprung a leak Friday afternoon in Mayflower, Ark., a small city about 20 miles northwest of Little Rock. / KTHV-TV

MAYFLOWER, ARK.

Crews recovered about 12,000 barrels of oil and water after a crude oil pipeline ruptured in central Arkansas, officials said Saturday.

An ExxonMobil pipeline sprung a leak Friday afternoon in Mayflower, a small city about 20 miles northwest of Little Rock.

ExxonMobil and local officials said in a Saturday news release that they suspected a few thousand barrels of oil spilled but are preparing a response for more than 10,000 barrels “to be conservative.”

Authorities are still investigating the cause of the spill. The city said Saturday that it recommended that 22 area homes be evacuated. On Friday, officials put the number of homes at dozens.

Crews have mobilized more than a dozen vacuum trucks to the site to clean up the oil, according to the news release.

Professional hygienist authorities are also monitoring air quality, officials said. There are precautions in place to keep oil away from nearby Lake Conway, the news release said.   FULL  ARTICLE

More…

“Panel cites systematic failures at State Department over Benghazi attack”


CBS NEWS

The burned out hull of the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi following attacks by suspected terrorists there on Sept. 11, 2012, that killed four Americans, including the U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stephens. / GETTY IMAGES

The burned out hull of the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi following attacks by suspected terrorists there on Sept. 11, 2012, that killed four Americans, including the U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stephens. / GETTY IMAGES

WASHINGTON – An independent panel charged with investigating the deadly Sept. 11 attack in Libya that killed a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans has concluded that systematic management and leadership failures at the State Department led to “grossly” inadequate security at the mission in Benghazi.

“Systematic failures and leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels within two bureaus of the State Department resulted in a Special Mission security posture that was inadequate for Benghazi and grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place,” the panel said.

The report (PDF) singled out the Bureau of Diplomatic Security and the Bureau of Near East Affairs for criticism, saying there appeared to be a lack of cooperation and confusion over protection at the mission in Benghazi, a city in Eastern Libya that was relatively lawless after the revolution that toppled Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi.

Despite those failures, the Accountability Review Board determined that no individual officials ignored or violated their duties and recommended no disciplinary action now. But it also said poor performance by senior managers should be grounds for disciplinary recommendations in the future.  FULL  ARTICLE