U.S. Department of State

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The U.S. Department of State is headed by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. [1]

Judith A. McHale, a friend of Clinton's and a fundraiser for her 2008 presidential campaign, serves as Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. [2] [3]

In June 2009, an internal State Department memo identified Farah Pandith as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's "special representative to Muslim communities." [4]

Mission

According to the State Department's web site,[5] "The Executive Branch and the Congress have constitutional responsibilities for U.S. foreign policy. Within the Executive Branch, the Department of State is the lead U.S. foreign affairs agency, and the Secretary of State is the President's principal foreign policy adviser. The Department advances U.S. objectives and interests in shaping a freer, more secure, and more prosperous world through its primary role in developing and implementing the President's foreign policy. The Department also supports the foreign affairs activities of other U.S. Government entities including the Department of Commerce and the U.S. Agency for International Development. It also provides an array of important services to U.S. citizens and to foreigners seeking to visit or immigrate to the U.S.

"All foreign affairs activities -- U.S. representation abroad, foreign assistance programs, countering international crime, foreign military training programs, the services the Department provides, and more -- are paid for by the foreign affairs budget, which represents little more than 1% of the total federal budget, or about 12 cents a day for each American citizen."

This, of course, does not include the cost of military action taken as a consequence of these foreign affairs activities, or of maintaining the military infrastructure and a standing army.

Political "Litmus Test"

"The State Department has been using political litmus tests to screen private American citizens before they can be sent overseas to represent the United States, weeding out critics of the Bush administration's Iraq policy, according to department officials and internal e-mails," Knight-Ridder reports. "The practices appear to be the latest examples of the Bush administration's efforts to tightly control information, maintain 'message discipline' and promote news about the United States and its policies." President Bush's confidante Undersecretary of State Karen Hughes oversees the effort, which is part of a larger campaign to boost international opinion of the United States.[6]

Contact information

URL: http://www.state.gov/

Resources

Related SourceWatch articles

References

  1. Klaus Marre, "It’s official – Obama taps Clinton to head State," The Hill, December 1, 2008
  2. "Judith A. McHale: Under Secretary, Bureau of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs," U.S. State Department website, accessed June 2009.
  3. Al Kamen, "A Lovely Consolation Prize for Ms. Kennedy?," Washington Post, January 23, 2009.
  4. "U.S. taps envoy for Muslim outreach without fanfare," Reuters, June 25, 2009.
  5. U.S. Department of State web site.
  6. Warren Strobel and Jonathan Landay, "State Department checks citizen representatives' political views: Government: Before private American citizens go overseas to represent the U.S., they are vetted to ensure their views mesh with those of the administration," Duluth News Tribune, December 3, 2005.

External articles