Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is Purging the State Department Employees

The purging of the State Depart­ment contin­ues:

While Rex Tiller­son is on his first overseas trip as Secre­tary of State, his aides laid off staff at the State Depart­ment on Thurs­day.

Much of seventh-floor staff, who work for the Deputy Secre­tary of State for Manage­ment and Resources and the Counselor offices, were told today that their services were no longer needed.

These staffers in partic­u­lar are often the conduit between the secretary’s office to the country bureaus, where the region­al exper­tise is centered. Inside the State Depart­ment, some officials fear that this is a politically-minded purge that cuts out much-needed exper­tise from the policy-making, rather than simply reorga­niz­ing the bureau­cra­cy.

There are clear signals being sent that many key foreign policy portfo­lios will be controlled direct­ly by the White House, rather than through the profes­sion­al diplo­mats.

Not a single State Depart­ment official was includ­ed in the White House meetings with Israeli Prime Minis­ter Benjam­in Netanyahu this week. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushn­er — who has no region­al exper­tise or diplo­mat­ic experi­ence — had a greater role in the meeting than the Senate-confirmed secre­tary of State.

Rex Tiller­son was absent Wednes­day but did join Kushn­er and Netanyahu for dinner the night before. Acting Deputy Secre­tary of State Tom Shannon was on the official sched­ule to take his place but was then shut out of the White House meeting.

In an emailed state­ment to CBS News, a State Depart­ment official explained that the decision to modify the meeting was made at the White House to “allow for a more person­al discus­sion.” That presum­ably is a refer­ence to the long-standing friend­ship between Trump, Kushn­er, and Netanyahu.

That partic­u­lar incident was disheart­en­ing to many State Depart­ment officials who hope that Mr. Tiller­son — who had a long career as Exxon Mobil’s CEO — will bring his world­ly experi­ence and manage­ment to a build­ing that has been demor­al­ized by the Trump administration’s antipa­thy toward multi­lat­er­al­ism and cavalier approach to diplo­ma­cy.

Two sources also told CBS News that Ambas­sador Kristie Kenney, the Counselor of the State Depart­ment and one of the last remain­ing senior officials, was informed that she will be let go. She is a career foreign service officer who had served as an ambas­sador under Presi­dents Obama, Bush and Clinton. Her staff was told that Secre­tary Tiller­son does not intend to fill the counselor’s position anytime soon.

Contin­ue Reading at CBS News…

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