Thursday, September 17, 2009

Self-serving rampant self-censorship

Hmmmmmmm, I think we have all seen this before.
One diplomat told The Washington Times that he has decided to resign in part because of frustration with "rampant self-censorship" by Foreign Service officers and their superiors that has gone so far as to ban "bad news" cables from countries that are friendly with the United States.

The diplomat, who asked that his name not be used for fear of retribution against himself and colleagues, said that, in one instance under the George W. Bush administration, an embassy in the Middle East did not report local government interference in elections. Senior management censored accounts of low morale at another Middle East mission that had been the target of terrorist attacks, he said.

More than a dozen diplomats serving in Washington and abroad told The Times that they agreed with most of the officer's critique, and that the censorship has continued to a lesser extent in the Obama administration. All asked not to be named to avoid retribution.
A logical outcome of "you get what you reward."

This is part of a culture that isn't isolated in DoS,
They attributed its continuation to a risk-averse institutional culture.
Why risk-adverse? Simple, there is no upside to pointing out where there are problems because problems require work and phone calls to bosses to talk about negative things. Many bosses, the bad ones, do not like to talk about negative things and don't reward those who make their mornings uncomfortable.

Therefor, the human being will respond to those signals. Result; happy talk and an incorrect view of reality.

Have you been to one of the CNO's "Hours of Power?" Nod your head to him - he is trying to hear the ground truth.

I wonder how comfortable and direct SECSTATE's "Hour of Power" would be? Then again, DoS is full of long-term staffers that will outlast any administration. That is where the problem is.

Can you fix a person problem when personnel rules make that almost impossible? Harumph. Good luck with that.

No comments: