The Foreign Service Journal - September 2014 - page 15

Under a contract process central-
ized in Washington since 2008, vetting
requirements for every prospective
guard include “a police check covering
criminal and/or subversive activities, a
credit check, proof of successful previous
employment with supervisor recommen-
dations, and a personal residence check.”
Results must be individually approved
by the RSO, the head of the embassy
security office. The audit found that 173
local guards at one embassy and about
100 at another were placed on duty
by contractors before meeting vetting
requirements. At a third embassy, 18
guards were placed on duty before being
cleared by the embassy’s security office.
Many of the guard files were incom-
plete. At five of the six embassies, it said,
RSOs “frequently could not demonstrate
that they had reviewed or approved the
local guards employed to protect their
posts.” Also, the process for approving
guards for duty varied among the embas-
In one instance, it said, a local guard
was assigned to an embassy “for months
before his criminal history and use of
multiple false identities was discovered.”
At another embassy, the audit deter-
mined that a contractor had collected as
much as $1.48 million over a three-year
period in wages that were not being paid
to the guards.
OIG visits to the embassies and rel-
evant State Department offices were con-
ducted between March and September
2013, although all files were reviewed for
guards who had worked under contracts
at the selected posts since October 2010.
In addition to redaction of references
to specific embassies, six full pages of
the document titled “Outline for Action,”
though designated as “unclassified,” are
blacked out in their entirety.
In its response to OIG recommenda-
tions, one of the posts said that checks of
financial information about prospective
hires were illegal under privacy laws of
the country in question, and said that it
had “no alternative means to conduct a
credit check.”
Steven Alan Honley,
Contributing Editor
Yes, ICANN Change
ack in March, the U.S. National Tele-
communications and Information
end its formal relationship with the
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names
and Numbers in September 2015. ICANN
performs many administrative functions,
but probably the best known of them is
managing Internet domain names, which
it does via the Internet Assigned Num-
bers Authority.
ICANN has faced mounting criticism
about the influence of the U.S. govern-
ment over its operations. However, NTIA
maintains that the decision to cut ICANN
loose simply reflects an understanding
that the partnership, which dates back to
1999, was always intended to be tempo-
rary, as well as Washington’s confidence
that ICANN is capable of taking over its
responsibilities independently.
The announcement has set off a
scramble to ensure that the transition is
as smooth as possible and, above all, that
the new governance model will safeguard
the openness of the Internet.
NTIA’s administrator, Assistant Secre-
tary of Commerce for Communications
and Information Lawrence E. Strickling,
has emphasized that the United States
“will not accept a proposal that replaces
the NTIA role with a government-led or
intergovernmental solution.”
For his part, ICANN CEO and Presi-
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