State Department

Lawless Diplomats and The Rule of Law

Tuesday, December 10th 2013

Even in the middle of a busy week, the story stood out: 49 Russian diplomats posted in the United States were charged with participating in an organized scheme to defraud Medicaid out of $1.5 million in illegal benefits.

It wasn’t a one-time theft. According to the criminal complaint, the diplomats had been stealing money from America’s federal health benefits program for the needy for the past nine years.

President Vladimir Putin’s government must have been shaken by the news, and at least initially worried about how it would affect their interests. But that worry couldn’t have lasted long. When reporters asked the U.S. State Department spokesman about the impact of the scandal, she replied, “We don’t think this should affect our bilateral relationship with Russia. Quite frankly, there are too many important issues we have to work on together.”

Well, hold on just a second.

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David S. Jackson

David Jackson is a veteran journalist and former U.S. government official with extensive multimedia communications experience in domestic and international markets.

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Author: David S Jackson

Social Media: Plenty of talking, not much listening

Thursday, July 25th 2013

I can’t say that I was very surprised by the news that the State Department spent $630,000 to boost traffic to four of its International Information Programs (IIP) Facebook pages.

Was it a waste of money at a time of fiscal austerity? Absolutely. Did it result in a bump in traffic? At least temporarily, yes. Will IIP be able to hang on to those followers and advance its mission to “build America’s reputation abroad”? Probably not.

The reason it won’t is because of what social media has become: A place where a lot of people (and institutions) are talking, but very few are listening.

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David S. Jackson

David Jackson is a veteran journalist and former U.S. government official with extensive multimedia communications experience in domestic and international markets.

...click authors name for more info

Author: David S Jackson

Facebook Advertising and Public Diplomacy and the Blogosphere ... Oh My!

Monday, July 8th 2013

Stories about $650 thousand spent by the State Department’s International Information Programs (IIP) bureau on Facebook advertising have proliferated, prompting extensive discussion (see John Brown’s public diplomacy blog for examples.)

The background comes from an inspection report recently made public by State’s Office of the Inspector General.  Our busy commentators can’t possibly have read the report, or their accounts would pick up far more salient issues.

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Joe B. Johnson

Board member

 

Joe B. Johnson consults on government communication and technology after a career in the United States Foreign Service.  He is an instructor for the National Foreign Affairs Training Center, where he teaches strategic planning for public diplomacy.

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Author: Joe Johnson

Snapshot Captures Activity, But the Results?

Monday, February 18th 2013

Have you subscribed to Under Secretary Sonenshine’s biweekly Snapshot of Public Diplomacy in Action?  

It’s the first newsletter of public diplomacy activities available to the general public that I recall.  That’s a step forward in this age of government transparency.  Every Snapshot contains text and photos about conferences, receptions and other happenings organized by U.S. public diplomacy staffs around the world.

But I wonder what unintended impressions thoughtful taxpayers might draw from these activity reports.  Do they seem soft, perhaps superficial?  In the impending reduction of government budgets, isn’t this the first thing you would cut from the foreign operations budget?

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One person has commented on this article so far

Joe B. Johnson

Board member

 

Joe B. Johnson consults on government communication and technology after a career in the United States Foreign Service.  He is an instructor for the National Foreign Affairs Training Center, where he teaches strategic planning for public diplomacy.

...click authors name for more info

Author: Joe Johnson

Defense Act "Modernizes" Smith-Mundt

Friday, January 4th 2013

I notice that the National Defense Authorization Act not only reauthorizes the Public Diplomacy Advisory Commission (see Brian Carlson's post below.)  It also reduces long-standing restrictions on the dissemination of public diplomacy materials, aimed at foreign audiences, within the United States.

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Joe B. Johnson

Board member

 

Joe B. Johnson consults on government communication and technology after a career in the United States Foreign Service.  He is an instructor for the National Foreign Affairs Training Center, where he teaches strategic planning for public diplomacy.

...click authors name for more info

Author: Joe Johnson

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