State Dept. Security Upgrade Eyed
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Secretary of State Madeleine Albright told Congress on Wednesday she may create a post to deal with security threats. The chairman of a House subcommittee that controls State Department funds endorsed the idea.
``It’s a step forward,″ Rep. C.W. Bill Young, R-Fla., said. ``It’s welcome news.″
Only last week, President Clinton signed a directive for a new $10 million program to train foreign police forces under a new office at the department.
Albright put no price tag on her proposal for a new post of Undersecretary of State for security, including terrorist threats to U.S. diplomatic operations.
The idea, she said was to have ``a single high-ranking officer who can speak for the department on security questions.″
Albright was testifying before Young’s appropriations subcommittee on the Clinton administration’s request for $23.7 billion for foreign policy operations in 2001. It includes more than $1 billion to improve security at U.S. diplomatic posts abroad.
``I hope we will accomplish it very, very quickly, and you can count on the support of this member,″ Young said of the idea of a new security post.
The chairman said the department’s inspector general had found last fall that 1,700 documents had been ``mishandled″ at the department and that there were 214 security violations.
On another request, however, $739 million for peacekeeping operations in the Balkans, Africa and elsewhere, Young was critical.
``I am very concerned about it,″ he told Albright. ``It represents a major funding challenge to the Congress.″
Albright said in the Serbian province of Kosovo, where U.S. and other peacekeepers are on duty, ``we pay 25 percent and the others pay the rest for what we think is in our national interest.... It’s a very good deal.″