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JUNE 2017



DS for Law Enforcement

Kudos on your March edition featuring

the Bureau of Diplomatic Security. The

role of DS as a law enforcement agency

is often overshadowed by its security

mission, yet the two are intertwined. The

articles by former Assistant Secretary Greg Starr, acting Assistant Secretary Bill Miller

and others highlight the wide variety of

missions DS undertakes, as well as their

importance to national security.

As Ronnie Catipon noted in his article

(“Law Enforcement as an Instrument

of National Power”), assistant regional

security officer–investigators (ARSO-Is)

combine DS’ investigative prowess, in-

depth knowledge of visas and passports,

and an unparalleled overseas presence to

investigate and prosecute cases involving

terrorism, human trafficking and smug-

gling, money laundering and other types

of transnational organized crime.

ARSO-Is also train local police, immi-

gration officials, airline/airport personnel

and many others not only to recognize

these crimes and their severity, but also

to follow proper procedures when con-

ducting arrests and prosecutions.

In 2016 these efforts led to more than

1,500 arrests (including 70 cases involv-

ing human trafficking), the return of

272 fugitives to the United States to face

justice, and the refusal or revocation of

14,000 visas.

All of the work ARSO-Is do contrib-

utes directly to the Integrated Country

Strategy of just about every mission in the

world. Preventing members of transna-

tional criminal organizations from enter-

ing the United States, stopping foreign

terrorist fighters from reaching their

destinations and building the capacity of

foreign law enforcement partners are not

just law enforcement goals, they are U.S.

foreign policy goals.

Finally, the ARSO-I program rep-

resents an extremely

successful partnership

between the bureaus of

Diplomatic Security and

Consular Affairs (CA

currently administers

the funds for approxi-

mately one-third of all

ARSO-I positions).

Among many other things, ARSO-Is

help their consular colleagues fight fraud,

return American fugitives to the United

States, coordinate with local police to

arrest document vendors and assist

American citizens in trouble.

ARSO-Is—and all DS agents—are

as much diplomats as they are federal

agents. Thank you for recognizing their

contributions to our national security

and foreign policy.

Ed Allen

Overseas Criminal Investigations


Diplomatic Security Service

Arlington, Virginia

Refocusing the Mission

An overly judgmental, reactionary

and awkward display of what many

perceive as disloyalty by State Depart-

ment employees to our new president

(POTUS), despite solemn claims about

“defending the Constitution,” is now

experiencing the wrath of blowback. We

see threats to our funding, staffing and

even our sense of mission.

After reading the superlative


Service Journal

article by Senior FSO

Keith Mines in the January-February

issue, “Mr. President, You Have Partners at State to Help Navigate the World’s Shoals,” I nearly came to tears. That is

because I realized how our new POTUS

probably did not see that outstanding

article, but was instead challenged by the

now infamous Dissent Channel message.

The timing of both commu-

nications was very unfortunate,

but the damage from the latter

has been done. It effectively ban-

ished from the president’s view

the bright minds and rich talent,

as the Mines article reflects, that

make up the Foreign Service.

What was displayed instead

was behavior more akin to an acerebral

organism than a storied institution

that historically serves as chief foreign

policy adviser to the POTUS.

The rebuilding will not be easy, but it

must be accomplished. Hopefully, our

newly focused leadership will show the

way. Hopefully, the Foreign Service can

refocus its mission and, along with that,

recapture its glory.

Timothy C. Lawson

Senior FSO, retired

Hua Hin, Thailand

Regarding “Real” Dissent

In his April letter (“Dissenting from the Current Trend”), Jonathan Pec-

cia deplores the “current trend toward

group dissents, aired in public.”

That is a curious complaint given

the fact that mass protests within the

Foreign Service, including hundreds of

resignations over the Vietnam War, were

what led the State Department to estab-

lish the Dissent Channel in 1971.

Nor was that the only time such

groundswells have gone public. From

my own days as an FSO, I recall a group

dissent that became very public, over

the Clinton administration’s initial

reluctance to intervene in Bosnia.

Mr. Peccia also casts aspersions on

the State Department employees who

used the Dissent Channel in January to

point out the folly of President Donald

Trump’s discriminatory executive order

cutting off immigration from seven