Recent tensions between the United States and Iran have led many members of Congress to speculate about what legal authority the Trump administration may claim it has to go to war without congressional authorization. On June 28, the State Department gave a partial answer to these questions, at least insofar as they relate to the 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMFs).
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Mea Culpa: It’s all my fault.
On Wednesday, press outlets reported that the chief of protocol of the State Department, Ambassador Sean Lawler, has been “suspended indefinitely” pending the conclusion of an investigation into his conduct. Lawler reportedly plans on resigning from his post.
On Tuesday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sent the following letter and proposal to House Committee on Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce, including a proposal for a Bureau for Cyberspace and the Digital Economy within the State Department.
Editor's Note: The discussion of section 7(b) of the Jerusalem Embassy Act has been revised since original publication.
A bill from a strong bipartisan group of House members may reinstate and elevate a version of the cyber coordinator position eliminated as part of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s controversial “redesign” in July. The bill recognizes the degree to which protecting security in cyberspace and promoting digital communications as a vital economic, social, and political bridge have become critical to the mission of the U.S. government.
President Trump designated North Korea a sponsor of terrorism on Monday, returning it to the list of official state sponsors along with Iran, Sudan and Syria.
The Trump administration seems to want it both ways on cybersecurity policy. On one hand, the White House has ordered the State Department to study and report on the United States’s “international engagement strategy” for cyber issues, signalling it takes the issue seriously. Yet Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s ongoing State Department reorganization hobbles U.S. cyber diplomacy by downgrading the central coordination office for international outreach on cyber issues.
Last month the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed the Department of State Authorities Act, Fiscal Year 2018, part of which would effect a major change in the law of foreign affairs appointments. With Congress’s summer recess now coming to an end, it’s worth considering the constitutionality of the proposed change and contemplating the Trump Administration’s potential response.
Two good government groups, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and the Government Accountability Project, have written to the Office of Special Counsel requesting an investigation into White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer's comments on the draft State Department dissent memo regarding the President'
Consider this a major bureaucratic uprising on the part of career foreign service officers against the President on his executive order on refugees.