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The Lawfare Podcast: Turnover and Turmoil Inside the State Department

Jen Patja, Scott R. Anderson, Colum Lynch, Robbie Gramer, Margaret Taylor
Saturday, September 7, 2019, 12:00 PM

This summer has been a tumultuous one inside the U.S. State Department. In August, the department’s Office of the Inspector General handed down a scathing report alleging political manipulation and abusive practices inside the department’s International Organization bureau—only one of a series of similar allegations. At the same time, a number of career State Department officials ranging from assistant secretaries to the rank-and-file have resigned due to alleged complaints and disagreements with Trump administration officials and policies.

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This summer has been a tumultuous one inside the U.S. State Department. In August, the department’s Office of the Inspector General handed down a scathing report alleging political manipulation and abusive practices inside the department’s International Organization bureau—only one of a series of similar allegations. At the same time, a number of career State Department officials ranging from assistant secretaries to the rank-and-file have resigned due to alleged complaints and disagreements with Trump administration officials and policies.


To dig into these developments and consider what they might mean for the State Department’s present and future, Scott R. Anderson spoke with reporters Colum Lynch and Robbie Gramer of Foreign Policy magazine, and Lawfare’s Margaret Taylor, who is a fellow alumnus of the State Department’s Office of the Legal Advisor and former Democratic Counsel for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.



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Jen Patja is the editor and producer of The Lawfare Podcast and Rational Security. She currently serves as the Co-Executive Director of Virginia Civics, a nonprofit organization that empowers the next generation of leaders in Virginia by promoting constitutional literacy, critical thinking, and civic engagement. She is the former Deputy Director of the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier and has been a freelance editor for over 20 years.
Scott R. Anderson is a fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution and a Senior Fellow in the National Security Law Program at Columbia Law School. He previously served as an Attorney-Adviser in the Office of the Legal Adviser at the U.S. Department of State and as the legal advisor for the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq.
Colum Lynch was a staff writer at Foreign Policy between 2010 and 2022.
Robbie Gramer is the diplomacy and national security reporter at Foreign Policy magazine, covering the State Department.
Margaret L. Taylor was a senior editor and counsel at Lawfare and a fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution. Previously, she was the Democratic Chief Counsel and Deputy Staff Director for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 2015 through July 2018.

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