Sen. Drops Diplomat Nominee Holds
WASHINGTON (AP) _ A senator dropped his hold on seven ambassadorial nominees, who had piled up about 100 security violations, after the State Department agreed to tighten its disciplinary procedures.
``I applaud them for it,″ said Minnesota Republican Rod Grams, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on international operations. ``The concerns that I’ve raised have been addressed.″
The nominees, who have not been identified, will be considered in a closed hearing of the full committee next Wednesday. By tradition, senators are frequently allowed to delay the confirmation of nominees to whom they have objections.
Grams said the committee will probably approve all seven career foreign service officers, although he said there was one nominee he still had reservations about. One of the nominees had accumulated more than 20 security violations.
Among the changes to be adopted by the State Department, effective next month:
_All ``security incidents″ will be reported immediately to Washington, and will stay on the employee’s record after switching posts.
_Two infractions will trigger a warning letter, down from four; and three infractions will trigger a disciplinary process, down from five.
_The State Department’s nominations committee will take security records into account when it selects ambassadorial nominees.
_Security records will be included in an employee’s performance evaluation.
The security violations reportedly include leaving safes open and taking classified documents from embassies.
The State Department confirmed the changes were made in response to Grams’ holds.
``The administration should never put us in this position of sending up people that had these types of violations on their records,″ Grams said.
On the Net: State Department: http://www.state.gov