Chaos in Tillerson-land – more than meets the eye
Rex Tillerson has no plans to resign as Secretary of State and is “just taking a little time off,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Tuesday amid reports Tillerson was considering stepping down.
CNN reported over the weekend that a potential “Rexit” at Foggy Bottom was brewing and that Tillerson might resign before the end of the year. The report pointed to the former ExxonMobil CEO’s growing frustration with the administration, which was exacerbated by President Trump’s public attacks on Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
“The secretary has been very clear he intends to stay here at the State Department” Nauert told reporters when asked about the resignation rumors, according to The Hill. “We have a lot of work that is left to be done ahead of us. He recognizes that. He is deeply engaged in that work.”
Nauert said Tillerson is “just taking a little time off” after returning from a “mega trip” at the beginning of the month that included stops in Germany, Ukraine, Turkey, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
“He’s entitled to take a few days himself,” Nauert said.
How “low energy.”
Today, WaPo‘s Josh Rogin has additional ominous news:
The head of the State Department’s diplomatic security bureau has resigned and will leave his post on Thursday, leaving the two top positions vacant for the foreseeable future in the bureau in charge of embassy security around the world.
Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security Bill Miller announced his resignation and retirement from the State Department on July 19 in a note to staff, which I obtained. His last day of service will be July 27. Miller has been the top official in the Diplomatic Security Service since January, when the Senate-confirmed assistant secretary Gregory Starr was asked to resign. …
Miller, whose official title was principal deputy assistant secretary of state and director of the Diplomatic Security Service, resigned voluntarily and was not asked to resign or fired, a senior State Department official told me. He has been a member of the Diplomatic Security Service since 1987.
“It is with extraordinary sadness, counterbalanced by extreme pride, and with the deepest sense of humility, that I announce my retirement from the Department of State and the Diplomatic Security Service,” he told colleagues in his note. “I have been blessed throughout my life in so many ways. I count among those blessings the opportunity to SERVE with all of you.” …
Sources close to Miller told me that he had been hoping to be appointed to lead the Diplomatic Security Service on a permanent basis but was informed that he would not be getting the job. Two sources familiar with the situation said that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is planning to bring on Michael Evanoff, who was the head of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s personal security detail when she led Foggy Bottom.
Our sources tell us Miller is credited with preventing at least one Benghazi-like attack in partnership with the IC – and reportedly reading Republicans and their staffers on congressional state- and foreign-relations-related the riot act about the underfunding of State Department security prior that was a de facto major underlying factor in the Benghazi catastrophe, underfunding that Hillary Clinton and Starr had warned Congress about.
Evanoff has been out of the security loop for a decade, and it’s clear Tillerson, who has all but walled off everyone in State besides a direct circle of aides, doesn’t have the common sense to keep the most competent and well-informed people on board in an increasingly dangerous world.
By doing so, Tillerson, who has been a naive proponent of running government like a business, is putting America’s vital interests – and the nation itself – at risk.