The Foreign Service Journal - May 2015 Background Image
Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  11 / 80 Next Page
Basic version Information
Show Menu
Previous Page 11 / 80 Next Page
Page Background



MAY 2015


the assistant to then-Under Secretary for

Management Ronald Spiers from 1987 to

1989. She was everything an FSO should

be. I will never forgive Colin Powell for,

in my view, not having the guts to fire her

personally. Silverman’s word “scapegoat”

is exactly what she was.

Mary was happy and content in retire-

ment. We stayed in touch, and she visited

us in Albuquerque. There are times when

I see things on the news, and I want to call

her up for a discussion. She usually saw

things the way we did and had interesting

views on what was going on in the world.

Thanks for refreshing my fond memo-

ries of Mary Ryan.

Kathy Allitto

FS Secretary, retired

Dillon, Colo.

The Secretary’s Email

and the Diplomatic



As a Foreign Service employee who

served as a communicator, an informa-

tion management officer, management

counselor and Freedom of Information

Act officer during 26 years of service

overseas and in Washington, I paid close

atention to the news of Secretary Hillary

Rodham Clinton’s very “personalized”

use of email. But the hullabaloo over

it misses a larger and more important

point about the State Department as an


At considerable taxpayer expense, the

department has operated and main-

tained the Diplomatic Telecommunica-

tions Service for many decades. DTS

remains in existence today, part of every

post’s Information Programs Center,

where secure satellite, terrestrial and data

links, as well as classified systems like

SMART, are installed.

Managed by Foreign Service informa-

tion resource management specialists

knowledgeable in information technol-

ogy and records policy, DTS is the only

authorized system for classified process-

ing by all Foreign Service personnel—

including the Secretary.

Sec. Clinton has stated that no clas-

sified information was processed on her

home system, and that she used it as a

matter of convenience. Indeed, in a world

increasingly dominated by millions of

small black screens which accelerate our

pace of thought and frame new global

perspectives in seconds, DTS is at a real

disadvantage. One could argue that it is

a relic of diplomacy’s past as the promise

of social media and the value of conve-

nience dominate societal trends.

Still, DTS remains the only option

for protecting our nation’s diplomatic

secrets (see my Speaking Out column,

“Protecting the Realm: The Past Must Be Prologue,” in the January-February 2014


). Equally important, it greatly facili-

tates records management and archiving

obligations via practical application of

tags, terms and other “official record”

responsibilities stipulated in the Records

Management Handbook.

As we rush headlong into a new digital

world of instant access and global reach,

we should not forget that DTS has long

played an important foundational role in

the department. By its very design, when

properly used, DTS protects our national

security while also preserving the official

narrative of U.S. foreign relations for


Timothy C. Lawson

Senior FSO, retired

Hua Hin, Thailand