- By P.J. Aroon
Secretary Clinton yesterday revealed some of the frustration she is having with the White House when it comes to finding a director the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). In a town-hall meeting with USAID employees yesterday, here’s how she described the vetting process:
“The clearance and vetting process is a nightmare.”
“It is frustrating beyond words.”
“I mean, it is ridiculous.”
Just how bad is the vetting process? Candidates have to list every foreign citizen they know (imagine how many that would be if you’re involved in international development). They have to provide details about every place they’re lived since they were 18 (once again quite onerous if you’ve globe-trotted the world). It’s to the point where candidates have to hire accountants and lawyers in some cases to meet all the financial and personal disclosure requirements.
Clinton said several people had declined the job due to the overwhelming vetting process.
Understandably, candidates should be carefully vetted, but this is over the top. We’re nearly half a year into the Obama administration. The White House even declined Clinton’s request to say that someone would be nominated soon. “The message came back: We’re not ready,” Clinton told the audience.
The “smart power”/”soft power” work of USAID is supposed to be critical to creating stability in troubled areas such as Afghanistan and Iraq. Well, it doesn’t seem so “smart” to keep an important U.S. agency leaderless for so long.
Photo: ALI AL-SAADI/AFP/Getty Images
Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.
A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.
Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C.| The Cable |