September 30, 2012

ANOTHER STATE DEPARTMENT SCANDAL: An American lawyer named Warren Rothman was tortured and nearly killed in China. State Department officials inadvertently collaborated with Rothman’s would-be killers and didn’t exactly handle that mistake in a confidence-inspiring manner. Joel Brinkley has the story in the San Francisco Chronicle.

[Rothman] contacted officials at the State Department Office of the Inspector General and told them of the distressing role the acting consul and other consulate officers had played in his own drama.

Well, late last month, the inspector general’s office wrote back and told Rothman, “We have determined that the appropriate office to address your concerns is the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs” – the very State Department office where the diplomats in question worked.

There’s an ineffectual response, if ever I have heard one.

I wrote to the agency and asked why on earth it had referred Rothman back to the office where the accused bad actors worked. Brian D. Rubendall, special agent in charge of the office, told me simply: “Our office made the decision that” the State Department bureau was “best suited to handle the complaint.”

I hope I never have to count on these people.