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This picture is from the May 1, 2009 ceremony when the name of Brian Adkins was added to the memorial wall in the lobby of the Harry S. Truman Building. Brian was a 25-year-old Foreign Service officer killed in his first tour of duty in the consular section of the American Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  Also added to the wall that day were the names of Felix Russel Engdahl, U.S. Consul in Shanghai, who died in 1942 in a Japanese internment camp; Thomas Waldron, first U.S. Consul in Hong Kong, who died of cholera; Edmund Roberts, a special envoy sent by President Andrew Jackson to negotiate a treaty with Japan, who died of dysentery.

It was the first time we saw Secretary Clinton cry.

Date: 05/01/2009 Description: Secretary Clinton at the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) Plaque Ceremony in C Street Lobby.   © State Department photo by Michael Gross

 

Hillary Clinton on the Tragedy in Benghazi

Hillary Clinton’s Video Remarks on the Deaths of American Personnel in Benghazi, Libya

Yesterday, our U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya was attacked. Heavily armed militants assaulted the compound and set fire to our buildings. American and Libyan security personnel battled the attackers together. Four Americans were killed. They included Sean Smith, a Foreign Service information management officer, and our Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens. We are still making next of kin notifications for the other two individuals.This is an attack that should shock the conscience of people of all faiths around the world. We condemn in the strongest terms this senseless act of violence, and we send our prayers to the families, friends, and colleagues of those we’ve lost….

In the lobby of this building, the State Department, the names of those who have fallen in the line of duty are inscribed in marble. Our hearts break over each one. And now, because of this tragedy, we have new heroes to honor and more friends to mourn….

… we must be clear-eyed, even in our grief. This was an attack by a small and savage group – not the people or Government of Libya. Everywhere Chris and his team went in Libya, in a country scarred by war and tyranny, they were hailed as friends and partners. And when the attack came yesterday, Libyans stood and fought to defend our post.

May God bless them, and may God bless the thousands of Americans working in every corner of the world who make this country the greatest force for peace, prosperity, and progress, and a force that has always stood for human dignity – the greatest force the world has ever known. And may God continue to bless the United States of America.

 

President Obama and Secretary Clinton at the White House and State Department

Hillary Clinton on the Deaths of Tyrone S. Woods and Glen A. Doherty in Benghazi, Libya

Hillary Clinton at State Department Eid ul-Fitr Dinner

Religious freedom and religious tolerance are essential to the stability of any nation, any people. Hatred and violence in the name of religion only poison the well. All people of faith and good will know that the actions of a small and savage group in Benghazi do not honor religion or God in any way. Nor do they speak for the more than one billion Muslims around the world, many of whom have shown an outpouring of support during this time.

Unfortunately, however, over the last 24 hours, we have also seen violence spread elsewhere. Some seek to justify this behavior as a response to inflammatory, despicable material posted on the internet. As I said earlier today, the United States rejects both the content and the message of that video. The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. At our meeting earlier today, my colleague, the foreign minister of Morocco, said that all prophets should be respected because they are all symbols of our humanity, for all humanity.

Benghazi-Spin: Myth-Busting and Reality Check

Myth:  Hillary Clinton said the attack on the Benghazi installation was an outgrowth of a demonstration against an anti-Islamist video on the internet.

Not exactly.  Here are her words on September 12, 2012.

We are working to determine the precise motivations and methods of those who carried out this assault. Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior, along with the protest that took place at our Embassy in Cairo yesterday, as a response to inflammatory material posted on the internet.

There were demonstrations against such a video at many U.S. embassies world-wide and in the region,  however.

Sep 11, 2012

Cairo protesters scale U.S. Embassy wall, remove flag

Egyptian demonstrators climbed the walls of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo today and pulled down the American flag to protest a film they say is insulting to the prophet Mohammad.

This Wikipedia entry gives a pretty complete treatment.  All of these embassies were under the oversight of the State Department.  The American School in Tunisia was destroyed.  Secretary Clinton, just back from a tour that ended in Vladivostok,  did have her hands full, but she did not blame this attack on the video.

Hillary mentions a precedent: Terry Jones burning the Quran the previous year and the resultant deadly protest in Afghanistan.    Jones was also promoting the offensive video.

Much early discussion centered on embassy security.  Many wrongly assumed that Marine Embassy Guard were stationed at every embassy (untrue) and that their mission was to guard personnel.  Hillary points out the error as did Victoria Nuland shortly after the attacks.

Clearing The Air On How Embassy Security Works

Hillary went to Capitol Hill to testify as soon as she had gathered the necessary information and her schedule permitted.  She answered every question posed to her and also announced the appointment of the required Accountability Review Board (ARB).

Hillary Clinton with Indonesian FM Marty Natalegawa

I’m looking forward to the opportunity to go up to the Congress today. I will be briefing in two separate sessions, the House and the Senate, in a classified setting, along with my interagency colleagues, as we continue to work together, and with governments around the world, to ensure that our people and our facilities are safe. I will be joined today by the Director of National Intelligence, General Clapper, by the Deputy Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter, by the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Sandy Winnefeld, along with experts from the FBI, the State Department, and elsewhere in the government.

Now, I anticipate that this briefing will cover our security posture before and during the events, and the steps we have taken since to do everything we can with host governments to protect our people and our embassies and consulates. The Director of National Intelligence will speak to the intelligence issues surrounding these events in Libya. Deputy Secretary Carter will brief on the superb support we have had from the U.S. military in the wake of these events, and we are at the very early stages of an FBI investigation. The team from the FBI reached Libya earlier this week. And I will advise Congress also that I am launching an accountability review board that will be chaired by Ambassador Thomas Pickering.

Partisan attacks began early.  We went on the defensive here.

House Tea Party Members In Pursuit Of Hillary Clinton: Examine Your Own Role In Cutting Diplo Post Security

Issa Flips The Coin And The Game Is On

In the course of the four-hour testimony there were some obvious gaps in congressional knowledge of how embassy security operates.  As Victoria Nuland pointed out on September 17,  internal security (walls inward) is the task of the guest country, and external security (walls outward) is up to the host country,  Marine Embassy Security Guard (MESG) is posted at embassies (not usually at consulates) primarily to secure documents not personnel.   That task  falls under the purview of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security headed by Eric Boswell who testified in camera along with Secretary Kennedy yesterday to the same committee.

Hillary Clinton at the Transfer of Remains Ceremony to Honor Those Lost in Attacks in Benghazi, Libya

In the days since the attack, so many Libyans – including the Ambassador from Libya to the United States, who is with us today – have expressed their sorrow and solidarity. One young woman, her head covered and her eyes haunted with sadness, held up a handwritten sign that said “Thugs and killers don’t represent Benghazi nor Islam.” The President of the Palestinian Authority, who worked closely with Chris when he served in Jerusalem, sent me a letter remembering his energy and integrity, and deploring – and I quote – “an act of ugly terror.” Many others from across the Middle East and North Africa have offered similar sentiments…

This has been a difficult week for the State Department and for our country. We’ve seen the heavy assault on our post in Benghazi that took the lives of those brave men. We’ve seen rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful internet video that we had nothing to do with. It is hard for the American people to make sense of that because it is senseless, and it is totally unacceptable…

The people of Egypt, Libya, Yemen, and Tunisia did not trade the tyranny of a dictator for the tyranny of a mob. Reasonable people and responsible leaders in these countries need to do everything they can to restore security and hold accountable those behind these violent acts.

 

Hillary Clinton’s Media Interviews on Benghazi

For more than a month Hillary had been taking responsibility, talking to Congress and the press, providing explanations and information such as she could (some information was classified and later declassified, e.g. the fact that “the annex,” as the second building was called, was actually a CIA operation and the related fact that two of the four Americans killed were actually CIA officers and not State Department personnel).

Look, I take responsibility. I’m in charge of the State Department, 60,000-plus people all over the world, 275 posts.

Nevertheless, when Hillary, traveling abroad in Peru, used those words to CNN’s Elise Labott it was breaking news across prime time cable.  Remarkable. Proving that when it comes to Hillary Clinton even saying the same thing differently somehow generates headlines.

(Recently she mentioned that she would decide whether or not to run in 2016 “after the first of the year.”  The story went viral despite that fact that for three months she had been saying that she would not make that decision “before the end of the year.”)

Aftermath … Benghazi, The Great Debate, and Hurricane Hillary

Hillary does not mention that, ill and injured,  she was handling her duties from home and at one point from her hospital room during the weeks in December when the ARB Report came to her.  We owe her dedication a great debt.

She has told us many times that we should take criticism seriously but not personally.  Her summary of the ARB findings stand as an excellent example.  In fact the ARB did not find fault with her or with any particular personnel.  The faults they did spotlight were functional and procedural.   Hillary addressed these with alacrity.  She accepted all 29 recommendations and ordered them implemented.  She pledged not to leave office until all were in the process of implementation and met that goal.

Here is a link to the ARB Report and the cover letter she sent with it to Congress.

Hillary Clinton’s Cover Letter to Congress and the Unclassified ARB Report

She testified on Capitol Hill as soon as her doctors permitted (which may have been earlier than they recommended).

Video: Hillary Clinton’s Testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Benghazi

As I have said many times, I take responsibility, and nobody is more committed to getting this right. I am determined to leave the State Department and our country safer, stronger, and more secure…

… let me underscore the importance of the United States continuing to lead in the Middle East, in North Africa, and around the world. We’ve come a long way in the past four years, and we cannot afford to retreat now. When America is absent, especially from unstable environments, there are consequences. Extremism takes root; our interests suffer; our security at home is threatened.

That’s why I sent Chris Stevens to Benghazi in the first place. Nobody knew the dangers better than Chris, first during the revolution, then during the transition. A weak Libyan Government, marauding militias, terrorist groups; a bomb exploded in the parking lot of his hotel, but he did not waver. Because he understood it was critical for America to be represented there at that time.

Our men and women who serve overseas understand that we accept a level of risk to protect the country we love. And they represent the best traditions of a bold and generous nation. They cannot work in bunkers and do their jobs. So it is our responsibility to make sure they have the resources they need, and to do everything we can to reduce the risks.

Video: Hillary Clinton Before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Benghazi

With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they’d they go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator. Now, honestly, I will do my best to answer your questions about this, but the fact is that people were trying in real time to get to the best information. The IC has a process, I understand, going with the other committees to explain how these talking points came out. But you know, to be clear, it is, from my perspective, less important today looking backwards as to why these militants decided they did it than to find them and bring them to justice, and then maybe we’ll figure out what was going on in the meantime.

Hillary speaks eloquently in this chapter in her own defense.  She really should not have to, but Benghazi became a political football the very day after it happened and the fact that she was out of politics when it happened and that those who testified before Congress were career diplomats and not politically aligned mattered nothing to the people who intended a witch hunt.

None of us can really know what we might have done as colonial residents of Salem if our neighbors were accused of witchcraft.  A rapidly dwindling number of Americans knows how they reacted when asked by Congressmen or an ambitious and wrong-headed Senator to name names of “enemies” in the entertainment industry, the military, and even in the very department Hillary headed. I, however, did know what I could do to defend Hillary, so I have included in this post not only her words, but my own defenses of her – some of them.

I know Hillary does not agree with some of what I have said, and I did go ahead and name names as she has not.  None of it is secret.

The Tea Party v. Hillary Clinton: It Never Ends

Part of the partisan offensive was a review of the Accountability Review Board reporting system initiated by some in Congress who, as Hillary points out, refused to be satisfied or simply refused to listen.  It was a silly, frivolous waste of taxpayer dollars.

Hillary Clinton and the ARB Reporting System Reviewed: Things You Should Know

Hillary Clinton and the ARB Reporting System Reviewed: More Things You Should Know

 

Benghazi was the event that drew a dividing  line through the Hillary team.  People I had known since her 2008 campaign peeled off.  It was fast and furious in dramatic, stunning contrast to the pro-Hillary passion they had professed up until that point.

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Hillary Clinton’s ‘Hard Choices’ Retrospective: Introduction

Access other chapters of this retrospective here >>>>

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Happy 90th Birthday to my former colleagues in the Foreign Service! It was an honor to spend 4 years working with you.

Meriam Yahya Ibrahim’s death sentence is abhorrent. Sudan should stop threatening religious freedom and fundamental human rights.

Mariam Yahya Ibrahim, Sudanese Woman, Sentenced To Death For Choosing Christianity Over Islam

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As Mme. Secretary prepares to turn over the reins of State to Senator Kerry, this fact sheet, a handy list of what the State Department does, arrives as a concise reminder of the bang the citizens of the U.S. get for their buck.  I am sure I saw something similar when our girl was preparing to step onto this world stage.  Regrettably (and no I have never been a “no regrets” person – I have my regrets), during the first six months of her tenure at State, I was somewhat negligent about posting here on this blog, wasting some of my time and some information at the now defunct Hillary’s Village Forum.  I did follow her travels pretty regularly then, but could have been more responsible posting her D.C. activities here rather than at the forum.

It is water under the bridge now.  Fortunately for me and for the blog, those first six months at Foggy Bottom were the days when, in true HRC fashion, she was keeping a low profile with her nose to the grindstone learning as much as she could about the department, so there was not a lot to share anyway.  Her presence was so rare that you might remember voices clamoring to know where she was, why Obama was keeping her “in the shadows,” and suggesting she was being hidden. In those days I argued that she was studying briefs, treaties, MOUs, and essentially “eating the paper off the walls.”  Turned out I was right about that and by the time she emerged the forum had gone down for good and this blog is where I shared all that came to my inbox.

So, as she pulls up stakes and moves on (as will we from State to wherever she goes next) here is one of my favorite pictures from that first year along with a reminder for all who think we spend too much on foreign aid, of all that the State Department does for a little more than one percent of our budget.  Annie Liebowitz posed her perfectly in this ruffly pantsuit that I have always loved on her,

annie_liebowitz2009

Ten Things You Should Know About the State Department

 

Fact Sheet
Bureau of Public Affairs
January 10, 2013

What do the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) do for the American people? With just over one percent of the entire federal budget, we have a huge impact on how Americans live and how the rest of the world engages America. For example:

1. We create American jobs. We directly support 20 million U.S. jobs by promoting new and open markets for U.S. firms, protecting intellectual property, negotiating new U.S. airline routes worldwide, and competing for foreign government and private contracts.

2. We support American citizens abroad. In 2011, we provided emergency assistance to U.S. citizens in countries experiencing natural disasters or civil unrest. We assisted in 9,393 international adoptions and worked on more than 1,700 child abduction cases — resulting in the return of over 660 American children.

3. We promote democracy and foster stability around the world. Stable democracies are less likely to pose a threat to their neighbors or to the United States. In South Sudan, Libya and many other countries we worked through various means to foster democracy and peace.

4. We help to make the world a safer place. Together with Russia, under the New START Treaty, we are reducing the number of deployed nuclear weapons to levels not seen since the 1950s. Our nonproliferation programs have destroyed stockpiles of missiles, munitions and material that can be used to make a nuclear weapon. The State Department has helped more than 40 countries clear millions of square meters of landmines.

5. We save lives. Strong bipartisan support for U.S. global health investments has led to worldwide progress against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, smallpox and polio. Better health abroad reduces the risk of instability and enhances our national security.

6. We help countries feed themselves. We help other countries plant the right seeds in the right way and get crops to markets to feed more people. Strong agricultural sectors lead to more stable countries.

7. We help in times of crisis. From earthquakes in Haiti, Japan and Chile to famine in the Horn of Africa, our dedicated emergency professionals deliver assistance to those who need it most.

8. We promote the rule of law and protect human dignity. We help people in other countries find freedom and shape their own destinies. Reflecting U.S. values, we advocate for the release of prisoners of conscience, prevent political activists from suffering abuse, train police officers to combat sex trafficking and equip journalists to hold their governments accountable.

9. We help Americans see the world. In 2011, we issued 12.6 million passports and passport cards for Americans to travel abroad. We facilitate the lawful travel of international students, tourists and business people to the U.S., adding greatly to our economy. We keep Americans apprised of dangers or difficulties abroad through our travel warnings.

10. We are the face of America overseas. Our diplomats, development experts, and the programs they implement are the source of American leadership around the world. They are the embodiments of our American values abroad. They are a force for good in the world.

For a very small investment the State Department and USAID yield a large return by advancing U.S. national security, promoting our economic interests, and reaffirming our country’s exceptional role in the world.

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Press Statement

Patrick Ventrell
Acting Deputy Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
December 27, 2012

 


 

The U.S. Embassy in Bangui temporarily suspended its operations on December 28 as a result of the present security situation in the Central African Republic (CAR). We have not suspended diplomatic relations with the Central African Republic.

Ambassador Wohlers and his diplomatic team left Bangui today along with several private U.S. citizens. As a result of this suspension of operations, the embassy will not be able to provide routine consular services to American citizens in the Central African Republic until further notice.

This decision is solely due to concerns about the security of our personnel and has no relation to our continuing and long-standing diplomatic relations with the CAR.

The United States encourages all parties in the Central African Republic to participate in the dialogue to be held under the auspices of the Economic Community of Central African States (CEEAC) to develop a comprehensive agreement that will offer a new vision of peace and security for the country.

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Meeting with Staff and Families of Consulate General Belfast

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Aldergrove Military Airport
Belfast, Northern Ireland
December 7, 2012

SECRETARY CLINTON: It’s a great pleasure to be here again, and I want to personally thank each and every one of you for the work that you are doing here. Let me start by thanking the Ambassador. Lou, thank you so much for your leadership and your indefatigable approach toward representing our country throughout the United Kingdom. And let me thank you, Consul General, for your leadership. I know it’s been a tough but exciting year in 2012. And we are grateful. I know you’ve only been here at the helm just a few months, but you’ve done an outstanding job. And Natalie, I want to thank you as well. You’ve become an integral member of the community, and your – what I’m told is your late-night dinners and your dog therapy – (laughter) – your border collie, Sam.

Well, I was here the first time 17 years ago this month, when we took a significant step toward trying to assist in the peace process, and it’s a real joy to be back here 17 years later. And the work we’ve done over those 17 years would not have been possible without all of you. This is a group that I’m told makes it a habit of punching above your weight. You may be small, but you are mighty. There’s only 24 of you, but you seem to be everywhere simultaneously and continuing our work to support peace and reconciliation. This requires vigilance, and that vigilance is something that we count on you to provide.

Then you’ve got the G-8 summit with President Obama coming to Northern Ireland for the very first time. There also is a large sporting event in the work, VIP visits, and so much more. And thanks to you for going to London to lend a hand every so often, like during the Olympics, which I know you did.

I am grateful to you, American and Irish alike, because this is a place that is very important to the American people. There’s a lot of – as I said yesterday in Dublin – a lot of connections with the whole island of Ireland. And as Peter Robinson never ceases to remind me, a lot of presidents came from here. (Laughter.) I’m not quite sure all the ones he’s counting, but I think that’s true. (Laughter.)

So can I have the Irish staff raise your hand for just a minute, all the Irish staff? Excellent. And who is Lorna? (Laughter.) Lorna, I’m told you’ve been here over 20 years.

PARTICIPANT: Yes.

SECRETARY CLINTON: So what did we do, take you out of grammar school? (Laughter.)

PARTICIPANT: Fifty next year. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, that’s excellent. Well, both to our locally employed staff here and our great American staff, thank you. And it’s a small enough group that I want to shake everybody’s hand. (Laughter.) I usually can’t say that. But I hope you have a wonderful holiday season. Merry Christmas, and have a great Happy New Year. And it’s been a real honor serving with you. Thank you. (Applause.)

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12-06-12-Y-12

Meeting with Staff and Families of Embassy Dublin

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Embassy Dublin
Dublin, Ireland
December 6, 2012

Thank you so much, John. Thank you for the introduction and thank you for picking up the reins in Dan’s absence. This is a difficult time for him and the Rooneys, and all of you have done a wonderful job of putting together this trip for me. And I am delighted to be back in Ireland and here at (inaudible) embassy – (laughter) – in the world to thank you for everything you have done to make even stronger the bonds between our countries and peoples.

But first, I do want to send my deepest condolences to Ambassador Rooney, to his wife Patricia, and to their entire family. Dan Rooney has done so much for (inaudible) the Republic of Ireland and the United States, and he’s built an embassy family nearly as big as the Rooney family – (laughter) – but not quite. And this is a man who could go anywhere in the world for time off, but instead he and his extended family embraced Lewis and Clark’s expedition. He draws inspiration from the extraordinary people that he knows and he works with. Somebody once said Dan Rooney would get the Nobel Prize for Humility, if there were such a prize. And so our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.

And I really do wish he could be here, or be piped in, because he has bragged about you to me and our team in Washington on a non-stop basis. You’d think the mission had won the Super Bowl. (Laughter.) He tells me every time I see him that you are a shining example of his ideals. Not only do you work hard every day on this relationship, with so many different aspects of our engagement, but you raised thousands of dollars for Special Olympics and children with brain damage, you delivered cookies to our troops, you built a house for a poverty-stricken family. You’ve given back to the Irish community in ways large and small.

And in your official capacity, because that’s what you do in your time off, you’re working with our Irish friends to promote food security in Africa, advance research and development in clean energy, and expand our trade and investment to record levels. And I know you will be supporting Ireland as it becomes the president of the EU next year. These recent years, we know, have been tough for the Irish people. And we stand with them in solidarity and support.

And for our wonderful locally employed Irish team, we want to thank you. Would all our Irish employees raise your hands, family members? Let’s give you a round of applause. (Applause.) I learned long ago that ambassadors come and go, secretaries of State come and go, but our locally employed staff remain as the backbone, the memory bank of our missions. And we are so grateful to you.

And to all of our American team representing several different agencies in our government, thank you for what you’ve done every single day, particularly the added responsibilities of preparing for my trip.

And I am so proud to be here in Ireland, representing our country and following the footsteps of President Obama’s incredibly successful trip when he came to Ireland earlier in the year. Because we appreciate what you’re doing and we stand with the Irish people as they make such tough decisions for their own futures and show the remarkable resilience for which they are known worldwide and have made so many contributions to humanity.

I’ll have more to say about Ireland in my upcoming speech at Dublin City University, but suffice it to say that we back in Washington appreciate everything you’re doing to build an even stronger and more prosperous Ireland and a deeper partnership between us.

Thank you all, and let me come down and shake your hands so I can thank you in person. (Applause.)

12-06-12-Y-11

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12-02-12-Y-11

 

Meeting With Staff and Families of the U.S. Embassy in Prague

 

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State

U.S. Embassy

Prague, Czech Republic

December 3, 2012

 


Oh, thank you all. It is wonderful to be back in Prague, one of my favorite cities, and to have a chance to not only say thank you to each and every one of you for the work you do every single day, but also Happy Holidays, so it’s an especially appropriate time. As you may recall, I was here with my husband about a year ago this time of year for President Havel’s memorial service, and it’s wonderful to be back.

I want to thank Ambassador Eisen for his leadership. And under it, you have really carried the torch forward, especially on our three pillars of security, economics, and shared values, which I know are kind of a mantra, a famous mantra here. I also want to thank your DCM Joe Pennington. You’ve kind of pioneered a new brand of diplomacy, rock star diplomacy, not just because of that Bruce Springsteen photo hanging in your office, but because of the rock stars you have here at this Embassy.

Many of you have been working very hard on the new civil-nuclear center. This will unlock new opportunities for research and trade and bring us even more closely allied with our Czech partners. We’re working together in Afghanistan. The Czech Republic is protecting our interests in Syria. We’re working to support the fight against corruption, promoting human rights both here and around the globe. And thank you for providing the first-rate services to all the Americans visiting the Czech Republic. This is not easy at any time, but particularly, I know managing an embassy that is made up of interconnected wings of a castle that is centuries old is even more challenging. But it is very much appreciated in Washington.

I also want to thank you for bringing your children here because they are beautiful and I love seeing them, but it’s also a reminder of why we do this work. And let me ask all of our Czech employees, our local staff, to raise your hands so that we can show you our appreciation. (Applause.) I often say ambassadors come and go, and certainly secretaries do as well, but our locally-employed staff provide the memory bank and the nerve center for every one of us, and we are very grateful.

And to all the Americans, thank you for your service, thank you for your commitment to this absolutely critical bilateral relationship. It was no accident that President Obama came here so soon in his first term to speak about our nonproliferation agenda, and that our partnership is one that we are deeply committed to and we hope will only continue to grow in strength and breadth.

What I want to do now is come down and thank you personally for your dedication and for all that you have accomplished, and to really express, on my behalf and behalf of the State Department and the Administration, our gratitude. Thank you all. (Applause.)

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