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Senior Contributor

Your State Dept. has given up

Your leadership has given up on using the State Department to do much of anything, saving the money allocated to it by having a hiring freeze so they can not use the allocated funds. All while Russia continues to influence your media, citizens and elections.

Guess you have to save money somewhere to give the rich their tax cuts.


At the end of the Obama administration, Congress directed the Pentagon to send $60 million to the State Department so it could coordinate governmentwide efforts, including those by the Defense Department and the Department of Homeland Security, to counter anti-democratic propaganda by Russia and China. This messaging effort is separate from other potential government actions like cyberattacks.

Mr. Tillerson spent seven months trying to decide whether to spend any of the money. The State Department finally sent a request to the Defense Department on Sept. 18 to transfer the funds, but with just days left in the fiscal year, Pentagon officials decided that the State Department had lost its shot at the money.

With another $60 million available for the next fiscal year, the two departments dickered for another five months over how much the State Department could have.


Last year, the State Department spent just 79 percent of the money that Congress had authorized for the conduct of foreign affairs, the lowest such level in at least 15 years and well down from the 93 percent spent in the final year of the Obama administration, according to an analysis of data from the Office of Management and Budget.

Because of the hiring and promotion freezes that have left large sums unspent, as well as Mr. Tillerson’s refusal to delegate spending decisions, the department had a backlog of more than 1,400 official requests for Mr. Tillerson’s signoff at the end of last year, according to a former senior diplomat who left the department then.