The Foreign Service Journal - May 2016
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MAY 2016


tion. A July 30, 1989,

Los Angeles Times

article offered that “Bloch was disap-

pointed that his prospects for being named

an ambassador seemed slim.”

Discussing personnel dissatisfaction

was nothing new at AFSA in 1989, but

hearing it offered as a motive for espionage

was. I learned that “disgruntlement” is

considered one tick on the standard profile

for a spy’s potential motives.

As explained in “Espionage Against the

United States by American Citizens 1947-

2001,” by Katherine L. Herbig andMartin

F. Wiskoff, disgruntlement as a motive

for espionage “usually refers back to the

workplace, where disappointment, anger,

frustration, or alienation can arise from

interactions among co-workers or between

employees and supervisors.”

As I research the Bloch case, I am

outraged that the difficulty of the “up or

out” Foreign Service personnel systemwas

presented in a questionable media story

as a primary excuse for espionage that was

never proven.

Despite the tarnish of being selected

out, all the FSOs I knewwho had to go

through the painful career-severance

experience consistently spoke about the

dedication they felt to their profession.

As Albert Camus said, “It is necessary

to fall in love—the better to provide an

alibi for all the despair we are going to feel

anyway.”The State Department needs to

develop antidotes to the potential for such

despair, the way they inoculate personnel

going into areas where vulnerabilities to

health and well-being can be anticipated.

State can do this through an ongoing

commitment to building resilience via

personnel training that helps employees

and their families overcome the potential

need for love as an alibi.


Ann Luppi

FSJ Editor, 1988-1990

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania