Tag Archives: Chief of Staff

SCANDAL: Hillary Clinton’s Chief of Staff Fired Ambassador for Using Private Email

Following the revelation last week that rumored 2016 Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton insisted on using her private email to conduct government business during her tenure as Secretary of State from 2009-2013, a former U.S. ambassador, who was fired in 2012 for similar practices, spoke out about his experience.

On Friday, former U.S. ambassador to Kenya Scott Gration told The Daily Caller that in 2012, Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff Cheryl Mills fired him “based on an inspector general’s report which found, among other things, that he routinely used an unauthorized email account to conduct official government business.”

Gration told CNN that Mills “obviously knew Secretary Clinton was using commercial email,” and said that he was “very surprised to learn of the double standard.

I make no apology for ‘rocking the boat’ in the State Department to improve physical security, to enhance cyber policy, and to conduct several other initiatives that the State Department Inspector General misrepresented to build the case that Secretary Clinton’s Chief of Staff used to terminate my tenure as the US Ambassador in 2012,” Gration said.

The August 2012 report from the Office of the Inspector General stated that Gration had been found conducting official business on non-Department automated information systems, which is a practice that should be “limited to only maintaining communications during emergencies.”

Gration’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,” according to the Inspector General.

The report went on to say that Gration’s use of private email to conduct government business left the State Department balancing the “desire to be responsive to their mission leader” with the “need to adhere to Department regulations and government information security standards.”

The use of unauthorized information systems increases the risk for data loss, phishing, and spoofing of email accounts, as well as inadequate protections for personally identifiable information,” the report stated. “The use of unauthorized information systems can also result in the loss of official public records as these systems do not have approved record preservation or backup functions.”

The State Department told CNN that in addition to the private emails, there were  “several concerns with management and leadership” regarding Gration’s position. According to CNN, the State Department’s “continued referencing of the other allegations against Gration came amidst fruitless attempts by CNN to ask the department spokespeople to explain why it was acceptable for Secretary Clinton to use private email to conduct official business given that the 2012 Inspector General’s report against Gration repeatedly hammered him for the use of ‘commercial email for official government business.'”

In April 2014, the Washington Times reported that the Office of the Inspector General released a report which revealed that between 2008 and 2014, the State Department “misplaced and lost some $6 billion due to the improper filing of contracts,” mainly during Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State.

The report stated that State Department contracts worth “more than $6 billion in which contract files were incomplete or could not be located at all,” and that these unaccounted funds posed a “significant financial risk and demonstrates a lack of internal control over the Department’s contract actions.”

March 9, 2015, 3:30 p.m. Eastern: UPDATE: In a statement to us from Scott Gration, he maintained that he was fired for the “use of Gmail in the US Embassy,” and claimed that the Inspector General’s report, “Contains many egregious lies, falsehoods, and distortions on a variety of subjects.”

I hope the following details help to set the record straight on my use of a commercial email account during my tenure as the US Ambassador to Kenya,” Gration said. “My experience was somewhat different than Secretary Clinton’s use of her commercial account, yet I was ‘fired’ for the use of Gmail in the US Embassy, my insistence on improving our physical security posture, and other twisted and false allegations.”

While the report from the Office of the Inspector General claimed that Gration ignored State Department instructions and “willfully disregarded regulations concerning the use of commercial email for official government business,” he tells us that he made an effort to have his “unclassified State Department emails” and his “Gmail messages displayed as separate accounts on the same State Department Blackberry.”

March 10, 2015: UPDATE: Benghazi Chairman: There are “Huge Gaps” in Hillary Clinton’s Email Records

March 12, 2015: UPDATE: Fact Check: Holes in Hillary’s Email Story

Unprecedented: German General Appointed Chief of Staff of US Army Europe

According to Army Times, German Brigadier General Markus Laubenthal has been appointed to the position of chief of staff of the US Army’s European Command (USAREUR). He will be serving under Lieutenant General Donald Campbell and coordinating US command staff. The appointment is an unprecedented move, as the position has previously only been held by Americans.

Lieutenant General Donald Campbell, who has led the Army’s forces stationed in Europe since 2012 and who commands over 37,000 troops, said, “This is a bold and major step forward in USAREUR’s commitment to operating in a multinational environment with our German allies.” He also pointed out the fact that “US and German senior military leaders have been serving together in NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan for years.” However, this has usually been done under NATO’s banner, rather than through the injection of an officer from another nation directly into a US military command.

Laubenthal’s previous assignments included a stint in Amberg as commander of Germany’s 12th Panzer Brigade, chief of staff of International Security Assistance Force Afghanistan’s Regional Command North, and assistant chief of staff of operations for NATO forces in Kosovo. His appointment ceremony is set to take place later this month, and he will be stationed at USAREUR headquarters in Wiesbaden, Germany.

Army officials denied allegations that the appointment was a political move aimed at smoothing over US-German relations in light of revelations that the NSA spied on German citizens and Chancellor Angela Merkel. The relationship between both countries was also strained recently when CIA double agents were found among the ranks of German intelligence officers. Army representatives indicated that the appointment had been in the works for months as a part of a wider initiative to bring multinational cooperation into the US military. However, according to Stars and Stripes, a German military spokesperson referred to the appointment as “a clear sign for a good German-American cooperation.”

Polls in recent years have shown that many Americans support withdrawing US troops from Europe, such as a 2012 Rasmussen poll in which 51% of respondents favored allowing European nations like Germany to take over responsibility for their own national security. The issue also came up during the 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns, when former Congressman Ron Paul advocated withdrawing US troops from decades-old positions in South Korea, Japan, and Germany. American troops have been stationed in Germany and Japan since World War II and in South Korea since the Korean War.