State Dept's most senior career diplomat steps down

The U.S. State Department's third-ranking official, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Tom Shannon, is stepping down from his post, the State Department said on February 1.

Tillerson has faced criticism over his leadership of the State Department, with some officials being quoted as saying he has weakened USA diplomacy by removing or pushing out senior career officials while failing to nominate or to win Senate confirmation for officials to fill key agency roles. He has served under six presidents of both parties since 1984 and 10 secretaries of state and was seen as a symbol of diplomatic continuity and professionalism during last year's tumultuous transition. It was often Mr. Shannon who delivered the news to senior diplomats that they were being pushed out of their jobs or would not get the postings they had been promised. Of five "career ambassadors" on the job when Tillerson arrived at the State Department, only one remains and that diplomat is now on sabbatical. Of six undersecretary positions, only two, including Shannon's, are now occupied.

In a letter to department staff, Shannon, 60, said he was resigning for personal reasons. "I decided it was an important moment to take a step back and to determine what next I can do in my life", Shannon said.

But Shannon told the AP that his decision was largely driven by the fact that he recently turned 60, as well as by the death of his mother late a year ago.

Tillerson in November said he was offended by claims that the State Department was being hollowed out under Trump, saying it was functioning well in spite of scathing criticism from former American diplomats including Nicholas Burns and Ryan Crocker. He said that he stayed on to help the department navigate the transition between administrations.


Secretary of State Rex Tillerson shakes hands with Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Tom Shannon (l.).

Tillerson praised the undersecretary as the "senior statesman", and told the AP that Shannon would be welcome to return to the State Department if he ever wanted to. "Thirty-five years of experience is not something you replace overnight", he said. Tillerson made an appearance in the interview and echoed those sentiments, noting that Shannon had been thinking of the move "for some time" and expressed how much he would be "really missed". "There will always be a place for Tom Shannon at the State Department", Tillerson said.

The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen.

"I've served well across 35 years", Shannon said.

"Events in my own life have taught me that while I was blessed in many ways, one thing I don't have enough of right now is time", he told students. He's a patriot, a diplomat and a great American.

Related:

Comments

Latest news

Viacom (VIAB) Receives Hold Rating from Wells Fargo & Co
Finally, BidaskClub upgraded Viacom from a "strong sell" rating to a "sell" rating in a research note on Friday, December 22nd. The company reported $1.17 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts' consensus estimates of $1.05 by $0.12.

FY2019 EPS Estimates for Clorox Co Lifted by Analyst (CLX)
The Progressive Corporation (NYSE:PGR) has a market cap of $31.69 billion and over the last 12 months, PGR has risen by 45.05%. A number of other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also added to or reduced their stakes in the business.

Anton du Beke escapes 'Strictly axe' as he renews contract
Cole has famously sparred with Strictly judges over the years, and clashed with new head judge Shirley Ballas in the last series. Brendan could follow in the footsteps of fellow former Strictly professional Ola Jordan, who starred on the show in 2016.

Congress leading in Ajmer, Alwar seats
BJP candidate Sandip Banerjee got 38,711 votes while CPI-M's Gargi Chatterjee was at number three with 35,497 votes. The party, which wrested power from the Congress in in Rajasthan in 2013, had 161 MLAs in the House of 200.

Hardin schools cancel classes Friday following gun incident
It began on Friday, when Uttekaat Birdinground , a 17-year-old student at Hardin High School, allegedly brought a gun to school. Hardin Schools Superintendent Dennis Gerke said it has been a hard week for all of those involved in the school.

Other news