Christopher Reprimands Jean Kennedy Smith on Adams Visa Dispute
Mar. 07, 1996
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Secretary of State Warren Christopher is reprimanding the U.S. ambassador to Ireland for punishing two of her officers for objecting to a visa for Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams.
An administration official said Wednesday that Christopher acted against Jean Kennedy Smith in reaction to a report by Jacquelyn L. Williams-Bridgers, the State Department's inspector general.
Smith, appointed by President Clinton, is the sister of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass.
The inspector general's report said Smith had given poor efficiency reports to the two officers and blocked their access to Washington after they used the ``dissent channel'' to oppose issuing the 1994 visa, the administration official said.
The channel is a way for American diplomats to advise Christopher and other senior State Department officials of their views without having to worry about retribution.
The official, who discussed the Smith case on condition of not being identified by name, declined to provide further details or to identify the two dissidents in the U.S. Embassy in Dublin, citing the Privacy Act.
The Washington Post identified the two career diplomats as consular officer James P. Callahan and public affairs officer John P. Treacy.
Clinton's decision to give a visa to Adams, who heads the political wing of the outlawed Irish Republican Army, touched off a major controversy. The president defended the action as helping to promote a truce between IRA terrorists and the British government.
The truce came to a bloody end last month when an IRA bombs exploded in an underground garage and aboard a bus in London, but Clinton decided to give Adams another visa last Friday. Adams wrote in a newspaper column last week that the IRA is ready for ``another 25 years of war'' with the British.
Meanwhile, Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., denied a report he had wrongly intervened in the dispute between Smith and the career diplomats and demanded an apology from the inspector general for mentioning his name in her report.
Mary Casto, a spokeswoman in the Inspector General's office, said the office would have no comment on the report, which has not been released.
The Boston Herald quoted the report as saying that Smith had asked Dodd to intervene and attempt to stifle the dissent within her embassy staff over the visa for Adams. It said Dodd had offered to lecture embassy employees on the need for loyalty to Smith.