THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
Striking a Proper Balance
Despite those objections, freedom
of movement has already been severely
constrained in many high-risk countries,
many of which have even been desig-
nated unaccompanied posts. Heavy
travel restrictions are in place for U.S.
government employees, and whole cities
and regions are off-limits.
This, then, is the dilemma the Foreign Service faces: Does
modern security make diplomacy too difficult, if not impos-
Do access controls, designed to keep malefactors out, also
keep out our own citizens, critical sources of information or the
wider foreign public whom we seek to influence? Does a preoc-
cupation with security outside the official compound lead to
unnecessary travel restrictions?
Does the need for all staff to travel in fully armored vehicles,
or for an ambassador to have bodyguards, inhibit the practice
of diplomacy? In short, is it now too difficult for officers to get
out to gather the information they need or to interact with
foreign officials whom they wish to influence, or to carry out
essential program management and oversight?
Based on my experience in the field and in Washington, I
would have to say such concerns are somewhat exaggerated.
When I was ambassador to Lima from 1989 to 1992, at the
height of threats from Shining Path insurgents, our designation
as a critical terrorist threat post never prevented me from car-
rying out my responsibilities.
Yes, I chafed under much of the protection and the occa-
sionally intrusive steps required when I wished to travel
outside the capital or attend a social event. But even though my
entire staff and I were living under the constant threat of rocket
attacks, car bombs and kidnappings, our team of RSOs made it
possible for us to do our jobs and even travel to remote parts of
Similarly, as DS assistant secretary, I traveled to critical-
threat posts on every continent to see for myself how our
enhanced security policies operated in real life. I found that
Congress never appropriated enough
funds to build all the chanceries needed
to carry out the Inman Commission's
AP PHOTO/BRENNAN LINSLEY
A U.S. Marine
talks with an FBI
front of Embassy
Dar es Salaam
on Aug. 15, 1998.
Eight days earlier,
there and at
killing 224 people
more than 5,000.