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MARCH 2015



budgetary reasons; gender and minor-

ity preferences that, even if not explicitly

decreed, are widely known; shifting

personnel definitions and criteria; subtle

and not-so-subtle political influence; and


These are real factors. Mr. Lambrakis,

and I, are justified in questioning “up or


D. Thomas Longo Jr.

FSO, retired

Lawrenceburg, Ind.

We’ll Take Those Glasses,


I had long nourished the thought that

my experience with access to State facili-

ties as a retiree was isolated, unique and

dated. But obviously (based on recent

pieces in the


), little has changed since

my experience more than eight years ago.

On arrival at one embassy in Africa,

my eyeglasses (which I have worn nearly

my whole life) were taken fromme by a

Marine security guard. I had a most dif-

ficult time doing any constructive work

without them.

When I left the embassy, my eye-

glasses could not readily be located. For-

tunately, I had another pair at the hotel.

About two months after returning

home, the confiscated eyeglasses were

returned to me—sent in the diplomatic

pouch and irreparably broken.

Thus, my visit to the embassy turned

out to be a costly one. I have since made a

point of never again going to an embassy

to conduct business as a retiree, but

instead meet embassy personnel at hotels.

The monetary outlays, not to mention the

visual problems, were just too much to


Roy A. Harrell Jr.

FSO, retired

Ozona, Texas

Concerning Diplomatic


Is the U.S. Department of State com-

mitted to addressing in a timely manner

its policy and operational shortcomings

on diplomatic security as documented by

the Government Accountability Office?

More than six months have passed

from the GAO report’s issuance, and all 13

recommendations remain open awaiting

State action.