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The US Department of State is responsible for handling the foreign affairs of the United States government. The State Department, originally known as the Department of Foreign Affairs when it was created in 1789, is the oldest of the cabinet-level agencies in the Executive Branch. It consists largely of diplomats and Foreign Service officers who carry out American foreign policy throughout the world. This task involves a multitude of issues ranging from trade and commerce to cultural interests to security measures. The State Department interfaces with representatives of foreign governments, corporations, non-governmental organizations and private individuals to advance US interests all across the globe. For most of the department’s history, the Secretary of State functioned as the top adviser to the President on matters of international relations. However, during the latter half of the 20th Century, this duty was increasingly shifted to the President’s National Security Adviser, which resulted in the marginalization of the Secretary of State in some White House administrations. During the two-terms of President George W. Bush, the State Department has been particularly focused on the issue of terrorism as a result of the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Controversies stemming from this top policy concern include hiring private security guards to protect American diplomats in Iraq—some of whom were accused of killing innocent Iraqi citizens. The department also has spent lavishly on a new embassy in Baghdad, which was found to be poorly designed in spite of costing more than half a billion dollars to build.

In July 1789, Congress and President George Washington approved legislation establishing a Department of Foreign Affairs, making it the first federal agency to be created under the new Constitution. In September of that same year, additional legislation changed the name to the Department of State and assigned to it a variety of domestic duties, including managing the US Mint, taking the census and maintaining the Great Seal of the United States. Most of the domestic duties were eventually turned over to other federal departments and agencies during the 19th century, putting the State Department primarily in charge of foreign affairs.
The nation’s first Secretary of State was Thomas Jefferson, appointed by President Washington on September 29, 1789. Despite this duty as the nation’s top diplomat, Jefferson preferred a more inward or domestic perspective on how the United States should move forward—that is, focusing on the unexplored continent rather than becoming involved in developments in Europe. Those who agreed with Jefferson’s philosophy came to be known as “Jeffersonians.” The Federalists, led by Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, supported the development of a strong international commerce and the creation of a navy capable of protecting US merchant vessels.
The Federalists and Jeffersonians also disagreed over US foreign policy in regards to political events in Europe. After the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789, the Federalists distrusted France and encouraged closer commercial ties to England, while the Jeffersonians preferred to support the new French Republic. Conflict in Europe among France, Britain, and Spain in the late 1790s resulted in President Washington declaring American neutrality. The Jay Treaty with Britain (1794) and the Pinckney Treaty with Spain (1795) aimed at preserving this neutrality.
Jefferson’s efforts to ally the US with France suffered a serious blow as a result of the XYZ Affair, a diplomatic incident between French and American diplomats that resulted in a limited, undeclared war known as the Quasi-War. US and French negotiators restored peace with the Convention of 1800, also known as the Treaty of Mortefontaine.
During most of the 1800s, the US concentrated on its westward expansion, beginning with the Louisiana Purchase and other agreements that greatly enlarged American territory on the North American continent. The most pressing foreign affairs problems for American diplomats were the Barbary Wars of 1801-1805 and 1815-1816 and the outbreak of the War of 1812 with Great Britain. A critical event came in 1854 when Commodore Matthew Perry sailed to Japan and successfully opened up the then-isolated island nation to American trade.
It wasn’t until after the end of the Civil War, from the 1870s to the beginning of the 20th Century, that the US began for the first time to seriously engage itself overseas. In 1867, the federal government purchased the territory of Alaska from Russia. Between 1878 and 1880, Commodore Robert Shufeldt commanded the USS Ticonderogaon a mission to Africa, the Middle East, and Asia in an attempt to further open those regions to American trade. The most significant international event for the US came in 1898 with the outbreak of war with Spain. The Spanish-American War led to the US gaining control of the Philippines (and turning it into a quasi-colony) and asserting its authority over Cuba. Also in al1898, though entirely separate from the war, the US annexed the Hawaiian Islands.
At the dawn of the 20th Century, the United States began to behave as an international power and took steps to protect American territories and aggressively expand its international commercial interests. These policies included the promotion of the “Open Door” policy in China and the attachment of the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine that formally announced the intention to use military force to defend the Western Hemisphere against European incursions. At the same time, President Theodore Roosevelt oversaw the construction of the Panama Canal (only after the US aided the cause of Panamanian independence from Colombia), which would have profound economic implications for American trade.
The United States also began to compete with Mexico for political influence over Central America. United States Marines were sent to Nicaragua with the objective of ensuring the rule of a government friendly to American political and commercial interests and preserving political stability in Central America. Although officials within the administration of President William H. Taft saw themselves as intervening to ensure good government, many Nicaraguans became increasingly alarmed at what became a foreign takeover of their political, banking and railroad systems.
Following its intervention in Nicaragua, the US invaded and occupied Haiti from 1915-34 and the Dominican Republic (1916-1924).
After years of stalling, the US finally entered World War I in 1917 in an effort to help England and France defeat Germany. Germany’s resumption of submarine attacks on passenger and merchant ships in 1917 was the primary motivation behind President Woodrow Wilson’s decision to lead the United States into the conflict. A little more than a year later, the “Great War” was over, but the US continued to play a major role in the post-war international scene, with Wilson’s Fourteen Points, the Paris Peace Conference and the Treaty of Versailles and the founding of the League of Nations in 1920.
Disillusionment with WWI, and fear of international commitments that could lead to war and economic uncertainty curbed US involvement in global affairs during the 1920s and 1930s. The United States, however, did not retreat into complete isolation, as the necessities of commercial growth dictated continued government support for overseas private investment that drove both American engagement with Latin America and the rebuilding of Europe in the 1920s. With the rise of fascism in the 1930s, concerns began to grow in the US over threats to international peace from Japan, Germany and Italy.
Isolationists were determined to keep the US out of the wars in Europe and Asia. Congress passed a series of neutrality acts designed to prevent the United States from being drawn into the widespread international conflict that some US officials believed was inevitable. Then, on December 7, 1941, the Japanese attacked the US naval installation at Pearl Harbor, and the United States formally entered the Second World War, which would last until 1945.
As WWII wound down, American officials took part in important international talks at the Bretton Woods Conference in 1944, the Yalta Conference in 1945, Potsdam and meetings that led to the creation of the United Nations. Although Yalta and Potsdam involved critical talks between the US and the Soviet Union, American distrust of Communism lingered after the war, and US diplomats soon began to warn of the Soviet Union’s efforts to spread Communism throughout war-torn Europe and beyond. The US government, led by the State Department, soon adopted a policy of containment as composed by George F. Kennan, a career State Department official. The policy ultimately led to a combative posture on the part of the US vis-à-vis the USSR, setting the basis for the Cold War that ensued between the two Superpowers over the next 40 years.
As part of American efforts to curb the expansion of Soviet-backed Communist movements, US diplomats in Europe helped implement two major strategies designed to stabilize and protect Great Britain, France and the rest of Western Europe. These two strategies were the Marshall Plan, a multi-million-dollar campaign by the US to rebuild European economies, and the formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a military alliance designed to protect Western Europe from Soviet invasion.
The Soviets first tested the West’s military resolve in 1948 when they cut off access to West Berlin by land. Refusing to allow the USSR to claim full possession of the former German capital, President Harry Truman launched the Berlin Airlift in which the US Air Force flew round-the-clock supply missions into the city for the next year to keep its residents from starving. The airlift ceased after the Soviets conceded and reopened the roads and train routes into West Berlin.
In the ensuing decades of the 1950s and 1960s, other major Cold War flashpoints occurred. Two of the most volatile were the Soviet Union’s crushing of rebellions in Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968. Both independence movements were greatly encouraged by the US. An even more critical series of events were the Bay of Pigs invasion and the Cuban Missile Crisis, the latter almost bringing the US to the brink of nuclear-armed conflict with the USSR. During the remainder of the 1960s and into the early 1970s, US foreign policy was largely preoccupied with the war in Vietnam.
The war in Vietnam continued into the presidency of Richard Nixon, who initially sought a resolution to the conflict in Southeast Asia by decreasing the number of troops on the ground while extending air raids into Cambodia and Laos. However, the combination of domestic anti-war fervor and Congressional determination to extend limits on Presidential war power meant that finding an end to the conflict was a political necessity. The administration introduced the policy of “Vietnamization,” a program designed to shift the responsibility of the war from the US to the South Vietnamese, allowing the United States to gradually withdraw its troops from Vietnam. Although this process was not successful, the United States negotiated a peace agreement in 1973 and withdrew from South Vietnam, which soon fell to the Communist regime in the north.
As the Nixon Administration worked to end the Vietnam War, National Security Adviser and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger worked toward achieving détente with the Soviet Union. Arms limitation talks with the Soviets reduced military spending and established formal commitments to future discussions between the two powers. President Nixon and Secretary Kissinger also reached out to the other major Communist powers and cleared the way for future American recognition of the People's Republic of China.
During the late 1970s the US and USSR escalated tensions in Europe over the deployment of a new generation of medium-ranged nuclear missiles. This provoked huge protests in the early 1980s in London and other major Western European cities calling for the US to withdraw its Pershing II and cruise missiles. Meanwhile, American and Soviet arms control negotiators discussed offers to pull the weapons out of the European Theater. Little progress was made until a new reformist leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, took control of the Soviet Union. As part of his promises to change the domestic (Perestroika) and foreign (Glasnost) policies of the USSR, Gorbachev reached a breakthrough agreement over nuclear missiles with President Ronald Reagan at the Reykjavik summit in 1986. The accord led to the signing of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty the following year that withdrew all such weapons from Europe, and marked the beginning of the end of the Cold War between the two superpowers.
During the 1980s, US foreign policy was heavily involved in thwarting Socialist regimes (Nicaragua) and revolutionary movements in Latin America. The Reagan administration’s fiercely anti-Communist orientation led to one of the biggest foreign policy scandals in US history when it was revealed that White House and other administration officials secretly sold arms to Iran to gain the release of Western hostages and then diverted the money to the Contra rebels, all without Congressional approval.
In 1989, the Berlin Wall fell, which began the reunification of East and West Germany. In 1991 the Communist government of the USSR collapsed in the wake of a failed coup to overthrow Gorbachev, bringing to power Boris Yeltsin. The change in government led to warmer relations between the United States and Russia, as the US led economic efforts, such as passage of the Freedom Support Act of 1992, to help the former Soviet Union transition from a command economy to a free market one. With the fall of the Iron Curtain, Europeans all over the continent looked forward to new era of peace and prosperity.
That hope was quickly dashed when a bloody civil war erupted in the Balkans in 1992. Lasting three years, the war in Bosnia was viewed as NATO’s first big post-Cold War test. Instead of intervening with military forces, NATO countries stayed out of the conflict, in part out of concern over how Serbia’s ally, Russia, might respond. NATO inaction allowed Serbian paramilitary forces to conduct ethnic-cleansing campaigns against Croats and Muslims, the worst single incident occurring in Srebrenica in July 1995.
The failure on the part of NATO to stop the slaughter was still fresh in the minds of American and Western European leaders when, in 1999, the predominantly Albanian province of Kosovo tried to secede from Serbia. This time NATO air strikes were ordered to keep Serbian military units from rampaging through Kosovo. Thousands still perished in the fighting. Following the end of hostilities, a UN peacekeeping mission was established to maintain the peace while US and European diplomats negotiated a way for Kosovo’s independence.
The 1990s also marked the beginning of the United States’ growing concern over Islamic terrorism. The 1993 truck bombing of the World Trade Center, and later the bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and the USS Cole in Yemen, caused a realignment of State Department policies toward finding ways to address the threat of attacks against US targets. This shifting of priorities was cemented on September 11, 2001, when hijackers crashed American commercial jetliners into the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon. From that point on, the No. 1 priority of US foreign policy was combating terrorism, leading to the military invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. In 2003, President George W. Bush, pursuing a policy of “preventive war,” invaded and occupied Iraq.
What it Does  

The US Department of State functions as the diplomatic wing of the federal government, handling matters of foreign affairs with other nations and international bodies. The State Department’s primary job is to promote American foreign policy throughout the world. This task involves a multitude of issues ranging from trade and commerce to cultural interests to security measures. Employing diplomats and career Foreign Service personnel, the State Department interfaces with representatives of foreign governments, corporations, non-governmental organizations and private individuals.
Dozens of large offices and programs handle the vast responsibilities of the State Department, including geographically-based and subject-oriented bureaus that function as the frontline of the US diplomatic corps.
Among the leading components of the State Department are:
Regional Issues
Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs: A key diplomatic office within the State Department, the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs is responsible for implementing American foreign policy in Europe and Eurasia. The bureau promotes US political and economic interests in the region on issues ranging from NATO enlargement to energy supplies to the war on terrorism.
Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs: The Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs (BWH) staffs and operates US embassies and consulates throughout the Western Hemisphere. BWH staff implement US foreign policy by negotiating with representatives of foreign governments, meeting with foreign economic and political leaders in and out of government, coordinating various types of US foreign aid, and preparing groundwork for visits between higher US officials and foreign representatives. BWH also has a planning staff, which formulates policy toward other nations in the Western Hemisphere, subordinate to the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, the Secretary of State and the President.
Bureau of African Affairs: The Bureau of African Affairs is responsible for advising the Secretary of State on issues relating to sub-Saharan Africa. The bureau seeks solutions in three key areas: the consolidation of democratic gains among African nations, expanding economic growth and stemming the spread of HIV and AIDS.
Despite pledges by the administration of George W. Bush to help stem the spread of the disease, funding requests for AIDS programs in Africa went down in consecutive years. Also, an attempt to reinvent foreign aid through the Millennium Challenge Corporation has not succeeded as planned by the administration.
Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs: The Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs (EAP) is responsible for carrying out diplomatic relations with more than two dozen foreign governments, ranging in size from China to Fiji. Security, counter-terrorism and free trade are some of the major policy issues that EAP addresses with public and private officials from this part of the world. In fact, the bureau has played a key role in negotiations with North Korea over that nation’s efforts to develop nuclear weapons. The head of the bureau has been both praised and criticized for his work on the Korean nuclear accord and other aspects of his diplomatic work.
Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs: The Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA) deals with American foreign policy and diplomatic relations with Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. Regional policy issues that NEA handles include the war in Iraq, Middle East peace, terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, and political and economic reform.
Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs: The Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs handles US foreign policy with the countries of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Two of the most critical policy areas that the bureau oversees are Afghanistan, which is still trying to recover from the rule of the Taliban in the 1990s and the US-led coalition that invaded the country in 2001, and Indian-Pakistan relations—a longstanding source of tension and conflict between two nuclear powers. The leadership of the bureau has come under criticism during the George W. Bush administration for its lack of knowledge about Pakistani politics and its deference to the office of Vice President Dick Cheney, who reportedly calls the shots on US foreign policy towards Pakistan.
International Boundary and Water Commission, United States and Mexico: IBWC is a bilateral government body charged with maintaining border and water agreements along the international border between the United States and Mexico. The commission’s American section (USIBWC) is overseen by the State Department, and its origin dates back to the 19th century. The USIBWC’s structure and many functions are defined by treaties signed during the first half of the 20th century. Some experts have argued that the commission is long overdue for change, and recently the US side of the IBWC was engulfed in controversy stemming from the leadership of its top official, an appointee of President George W. Bush.
East-West Center: The East-West Center was created by Congress in 1960 to serve as a catalyst to strengthen relations and understanding between the United States and Asian and Pacific nations. The East-West Center coordinates research, educational classes and cultural interactions. At times the center has been criticized for being too centered on corporate and business concerns between US and Asian markets—especially now that a majority of the members of the center’s Board of Governors have been appointed by the Republican governor of Hawaii, Linda Lingle, and by Secretary of State Condolezza Rice.
American Institute in Taiwan: The United States established the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) on Jan. 1, 1979, after it switched diplomatic recognition of China to the communist mainland. The AIT is a private, nonprofit corporation that received federal money and serves as a de facto embassy.
Asia Foundation: The Asia Foundation (TAF) was established as a Central Intelligence Administration (CIA) proprietary in 1954 with the mission “to undertake cultural and educational activities on behalf of the United States Government in ways not open to official U.S. agencies.” TAF stresses that it is a non-profit, non-governmental, and non-endowed organization, depending “solely on monetary contributions from donors to accomplish its work.” However, the bulk of its funding comes from grants made by the US government and the State Department, and an annual appropriation from Congress, with some additional support from other governments (OECD members and Asian countries), grant competition, individual donors, multilateral organizations and private corporations and foundations. The foundation is privately run, and its offices throughout the region are known to have a relatively high level of autonomy. In the post-Cold War era and after a thawing of relations between the US and China, TAF’s development strategy has evolved to focus primarily on neoliberal development practices—including liberalizing market reforms and good governance initiatives.
Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction: Since April 2003, Congress has allocated more then $46 billion towards Iraq reconstruction. The Special Inspector General for Iraq (SIGIR) is a temporary federal agency that takes on the role of a watchdog for the abuse of funds intended for Iraq reconstructions programs. SIGIR continually assesses all projects and programs in Iraq in order to ensure that all money is accounted for and is used effectively and efficiently by officials of the US and Iraqi governments as well as American contractors. Since 2004, SIGIR has issued 73 audit reports and seized more than $17 million in assets. SIGIR’s work has also led to the arrest of five individuals and the conviction of four for defrauding the US government.  However, SIGIR has noticeably failed to control corruption and cronyism in the awarding of contracts and the use of funds once they arrive in Iraq.
Fighting HIV/AIDS
President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief: The President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR) is a pledge of $15 billion over five years (2003-2008) to fight the global HIV/AIDS pandemic. The legislation that authorized PEPFAR also established the State Department Office of the US Global Aids Coordinator (OGAC), which oversees all international AIDS funding and programming. The State Department and OGAC—along with the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the Departments of Defense, Commerce, Labor, and Health and Human Services, and the Peace Corps—are responsible for administering PEPFAR. Through three strategic program areas (prevention, care and treatment), the initiative was intended to prevent 7 million new infections, treat 2 million people living with AID-related illnesses, and provide care and support for 10 million persons affected by AIDS. In its first two years, PEPFAR reportedly provided support for 471,000 people in 114 countries. Most of these were in 15 “focus countries”—a list that currently includes Botswana, Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Guyana, Haiti, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Vietnam and Zambia.
Although considered a much-needed surge in the global fight against HIV/AIDS, PEPFAR is widely criticized for slow bureaucracy and restrictive policies. Most notably, recipient countries are required to spend the majority of funding for prevention of sexually-transmitted HIV/AIDS on abstinence-until-marriage programs—to the exclusion (and more often, prohibition) of condom-related education; organizations working with commercial sex workers are bound by morally based restrictions; funding is prohibited from being used by organizations that provide abortion services; and the US will not fund safe needle exchange programs for IV drug users, despite the proven efficacy of such programs. Generally, the US is accused of flagrantly ignoring scientific and statistical evidence and instead imposing an ideological agenda on countries, organizations and individuals in need. The US has also been criticized for pushing expensive brand-name pharmaceuticals in the programs instead of affordable generics, thereby greatly decreasing the number of individuals who receive treatment.
Diplomats, Embassies and Travel
Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations: OBO is responsible for the buildings that house America’s overseas embassies, consulates and missions. The bureau conducts much of its work using domestic contractors who handle the building of new embassies. Since the 1998 bombings of American embassies in east Africa, the federal government has conducted the largest construction effort in US diplomatic history to upgrade diplomatic posts and secure them against terrorist attacks. Problems have arisen, however, in the course of several high-profile embassy projects, including the sprawling new complex in Baghdad, Iraq.
Bureau of Diplomatic Security: As the second largest component of the State Department, the Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) is part law enforcement agency, part intelligence operation, responsible for protecting the personnel, information and property associated with America’s embassies and other diplomatic posts. The bureau also provides protection in the US for the Secretary of State, the US Ambassador to the United Nations and foreign dignitaries below the head-of-state level who visit the United States. DS employs almost 500 special agents in more than 150 countries, along with hundreds of private security guards through contracts with companies such as Blackwater USA. The use of private contractors created a huge controversy for DS in the fall of 2006 when Blackwater guards killed numerous civilians in Baghdad, Iraq, as a result of an attack on a convoy carrying American diplomats.
Office of the Chief of Protocol: The Office of the Chief of Protocol primarily advises and assists the president, vice president and secretary of state on matters of diplomatic protocol, or etiquette. The office arranges detailed itineraries for foreign dignitaries visiting the United States and accompanies the president on official travels abroad. It also plans and executes diplomatic ceremonies and dinners, oversees the accreditation of foreign ambassadors and manages the Blair House, which is the president’s guest residence for visiting foreign leaders.
Office of Foreign Missions: OFM claims three basic missions: 1) to provide services for foreign diplomats living in the United States, 2) to monitor the activities of these foreign diplomats so that they do not abuse their immunity status, and 3) to treat foreign diplomats in such a way that their countries will treat US diplomats stationed overseas in the same manner. OFM is authorized to impose restrictions of services on a foreign government and its diplomats if that government imposes them on the US. OFM is also authorized to enter into negotiations with that country to remove those restrictions once secure, fair treatment is given American officials in the other country.
Bureau of Consular Affairs: The Bureau of Consular Affairs (CA) is in charge of issuing passports for American citizens intending to reside, conduct business, study or travel abroad. It also provides alerts and warnings concerning potentially dangerous conditions in foreign countries and assists US citizens abroad on a variety of issues, including helping those who want to vote by absentee ballot when they’re out of the country, those who are involved in international adoptions, or those who fall victim to crime, accident or illness. In addition, the bureau provides services to citizens of other countries seeking visas to visit or reside legally in the United States and conducts research to determine who qualifies for a visa and which applicants may be attempting to get into the country to engage in harmful activities. The bureau also serves as a liaison between the State Department and overseas embassies and consulates on visa matters. In March 2008, the Bureau of Consular Affairs was the focus of media scrutiny when it was revealed that the passport files of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, John McCain, and Barack Obama had been breached.
Fighting Crime
Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs: Located within the Office of the Under Secretary for Political Affairs for the State Department, the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) is charged with combating the worldwide drug trade and other major crimes through programs involving other federal agencies and national governments. Despite its name, INL is not a true law enforcement agency, operating instead as a source of funding to assist law enforcement personnel, either in the US or other countries. No longer is it strictly an anti-narcotics office, working on other serious cross-border crimes, such human trafficking. However, anti-drug operations are still the dominant mission of the bureau. These operations, as well as its efforts to help stabilize Iraq, have resulted in the INL becoming a focal point of controversy in recent years.
Andean Counterdrug Initiative: The Andean Counterdrug Initiative (ACI) is a program operated by the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs responsible for supporting anti-drug initiatives in Colombia and other South American countries. ACI grew out of a controversial legislation, Plan Colombia, which supported various drug wars in South America. The program seeks to eradicate coca and induce local farmers to plant alternative crops. But for all the money that has been spent towards stemming the flow of illegal drugs into the United States from South America, little progress has been made in reaching this goal.
Rewards for Justice: The Rewards for Justice program (RFJ) authorizes the Secretary of State to offer money for credible information that can be used to capture or kill international terrorists. The program may also provide protection and relocation services for the informant and his or her family. Despite captures and killings reportedly undertaken as a result of intelligence tips, Rewards for Justice has detractors. Some say the program promotes reckless bounty hunting. A few have also voiced concerns about the credibility of received tips, while others wonder if any amount of money can overcome deep-seated ethnic loyalties in places like Afghanistan. Still others question the recent US preference for killing militant-Islamic suspects using precision-guided bombs, pointing out that bombings might hurt counter-insurgency efforts, which are based on gaining trust and cooperation, in Muslim countries. Indeed, critics frequently assail ads and other promotional materials for lacking cultural sensitivity. On the other hand, coaxing people with money to turn in their peers has been a tactic used since antiquity. Many see this particular program as a way of fighting terrorism with capitalism and an enthusiastic fundraising effort developed around it for a time.
Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons: The Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (G/TIP) coordinates United States activities in the international battle against modern-day slavery, including sexual exploitation and involuntary labor; manages US funding for anti-trafficking efforts across the globe; and is responsible for submitting a yearly Report to Congress on foreign governments’ successes and failures in meeting the minimum standards set by the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) in regards to steps taken to prohibit human trafficking, assist victims, and cooperate in investigating and extraditing traffickers.
Culture, Information and Propaganda
Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs: The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs was established to bring together students and professionals from the United States and across the world in hopes of building stronger relationships between countries. The bureau funds and sponsors many programs for international education exchanges to promote their objective of cultural learning and mutual understanding.
National Endowment for Democracy: NED provides grants to media outlets, human-rights groups and other organizations for the stated purpose of fostering democracy in foreign countries.
Bureau of International Information Programs: The Bureau of International Information Programs is the main propaganda arm of the US government towards the rest of the world. Responsible for producing and distributing information about the United States to an international audience, the bureau attempts to foster understanding and good will towards the US with an eye towards creating an environment receptive to US security and economic interests. The bureau was created in 1999 out of the remnants of the US Information Agency when it was merged with the State Department, and it has attempted to brand itself as a more high-tech and modern office. In addition to news reports and publications about the United States, the bureau recently unveiled a new website, designed to reach a younger audience with multimedia presentations, videos and podcasts. The director of the Bureau of International Information Programs reports directly to the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs.
Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation: AFCP is one of several programs administered by the Cultural Heritage Center, a division of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). It is the only component of the US government that provides grant support to heritage preservation in developing countries. Projects are chosen from those proposed by US Ambassadors in 120 countries that the State Department deems eligible. AFCP grants are awarded in areas ranging from providing technical support for the restoration of buildings that are hundreds of years old to aiding in documentation to saving threatened traditional crafts. Controversy surrounds some of the actions of Maria P. Kouroupas, the executive director of AFCP, as it also did when she previously held similar positions for the Cultural Property Advisory Committee.
Art in Embassies Program: Art in Embassies Program (AIEP) promotes America’s art and artists by borrowing original works of art by US citizens for display in approximately 180 US embassy residences worldwide. These exhibitions are collections of art loaned from galleries, museums, individual artists, and corporate and private collections. Each exhibition is developed collaboratively between a United States ambassador and one of AIEP’s curators.
Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration: PRM is responsible for helping refugees around the world either through assistance to international and non-governmental organizations or by admitting refugees to the United States. PRM administers and monitors American contributions to international and non-governmental organizations to assist and protect refugees abroad. It oversees admissions of refugees to the US for permanent resettlement in coordination with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services. PRM has been criticized for not helping more Iraqis enter the US during the ongoing violence in Iraq, and its onetime leader was accused of being unqualified to run the bureau.
Bureau of Economic, Energy and Business Affairs: The State Department’s Bureau of Economic, Energy and Business Affairs (EEB) is one of the federal government’s leading voices for promoting US economic interests across the globe. EEB implements policies involving international trade, investment and finance, economic development and sanctions, debt policy, terrorist financing, energy security, telecommunications and transportation. It also actively promotes opportunities for American businesses. Since 9/11 the bureau has increasingly supported the government’s Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) while carrying out its economic mission. This includes promoting US sanctions against Iran, which has continued to do business with numerous American corporations—including those with close ties to the Bush administration. In fact, annual US trade with Iran actually doubled under President Bush.
Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs: OES is responsible for the integration of matters relating to the environment, science, and technology into United States foreign policy. It works closely with the White House, Congress, US government agencies, universities, non-governmental organizations, and private citizens, as well as other State Department bureaus. Among the specific areas OES addresses when representing the US in making agreements with other nations: Bio-terrorism, climate change, conservation, fisheries, forests, international health issues, oceans, the use of outer space, and wildlife. 
Bureau of Verification, Compliance, and Implementation: VCI is responsible for ensuring that appropriate verification requirements and capabilities are fully considered and integrated into the development, negotiation, and implementation of new arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament treaties, agreements, and commitments. It also serves as the main liaison to the US Intelligence Community and other key policymakers for verification and compliance issues.
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor: The Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) is one of three bureaus that comprise the Office of the Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs within the State Department. (See also Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs and Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration). The DRL is perhaps best known for the annual country reports it generates on human rights practices around the globe. Starting with a congressional mandate and a humble 286 pages in 1977, these reports have become one of the most trusted and comprehensive sources of information for human rights advocates and officials.
The bureau also administers a multi-million dollar grant portfolio, including the Human Rights and Democracy Fund (HRDF), financing a wide range of human rights and democracy programs worldwide. Programs are carried out regionally or on a country-specific basis, focusing on issues such as press and religious freedom, civil society building and democratic reform, labor rights and women’s initiatives. The bureau is expected to help formulate and implement US policy abroad—especially with regard to the State Department’s increased emphasis on democratizing “transitioning countries.” Recent typical projects include the training programs Internews Pakistan, National Democratic Institute South Asia and Trust for the Americas Western Hemisphere
Where Does the Money Go  

According to the federal website,, the State Department spent $30.8 billion from 2000-2008 on private contracts. More than 80,000 companies and other organizations were paid by the State Department for a variety of goods and services ranging from building construction ($5.5 billion) to guard services ($1.7 billion).
The top 10 recipients of State Department contracts are:
Veritas Capital Management II LLC                                $4,156,962,997
Lockheed Martin Corporation                                         $1,183,415,679
Caddell Construction Co.                                                 $933,497,273
Blackwater Lodge and Training Center, Inc.                       $805,156,795
BL Harbert Holdings, LLC                                                $720,614,502
Fluor Corporation                                                            $578,405,014
First Kuwaiti General Trading and Contracting Co.             $500,776,199
G4s PLC                                                                       $490,613,999
Computer Sciences Corporation                                       $433,316,984
Triple Canopy Inc                                                            $418,051,498
One of the biggest spenders within the State Department is the Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS). In addition to its almost 500 special agents, DS employs private security contractors. This supplemental security force has been used largely in Iraq due to the extremely unstable climate in the country since the US invaded in 2003. Before the Iraq war, the use of private contractors by DS was limited to small efforts in Afghanistan and Bosnia. Currently, DS contracts with three large companies to help guard State Department personnel: Blackwater USA; DynCorp International; and Triple Canopy.
Blackwater USA, founded in 1997 by three former Navy SEALs, provides a variety of protective services in Iraq, using 987 employees, of whom 744 are Americans. Blackwater was one of the original companies providing security services to the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), including protection for CPA chief Paul Bremer, as well as other CPA employees and visiting dignitaries. Its staff includes former military, intelligence and law enforcement personnel.
DynCorp International evolved from a company formed in 1946 that provided support and services to US military aircraft and weapons systems under Air Force contracts. Named DynCorp since 1987, it was acquired in 2003 by Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) and now has nearly 14,000 employees in 30 countries. DynCorp has 151 personnel in Iraq (100 are American) to provide police training and related services in Iraq. The company also does work for the State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.
Triple Canopy, founded in September 2003, brags of having “former tier-one military special operations” personnel in its leadership. Triple Canopy’s two founders and co-chairman both served with the US Army Special Forces, one with Special Forces “Delta Force” unit. It employs the largest number of private guards in Iraq, almost 1,500, of whom only 224 are American.

Private Security Contractors in Iraq

(By Jennifer K. Elsea, Congressional Research Service) (PDF)



Passport Files of Presidential Candidates Improperly Accessed
In March 2008, embarrassed State Department officials admitted that three employees working for private contractors and one department employee had breached the passport files of Barack Obama, Hilary Clinton and John McCain.  The information could be used to access social security numbers and credit reports, as long with other private information. Sixty percent of people who process passports are contractors. The contract employees worked for Stanley Inc. of Arlington, Virginia, and The Analysis Corp. (TAC) of McLean, Virginia. On September 22, 2008, Lawrence Yontz, a fromer analyst for the State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research, pleaded guilty to reading the passport applications of about 200 politicians and celebrities.
Passport Snooping Gets Fed Intelligence Analyst Up to Year in Prison (by David Kravets, Wired)
New Embassy Construction Criticized
Despite the State Department’s goal of building diplomatic facilities more quickly and efficiently, serious problems continue to plague some projects. In a November 2003 GAO report (PDF), the Government Accountability Office reported that 22 construction projects were either behind schedule or going over budget. By June 2006, things had improved, with new embassies going up three years faster this decade than in the 1980s or 1990s, according to a 2006 GAO report (PDF). But then a single mortar shell opened up a whole new controversy for the State Department and OBO.
In May 2007, Iraqi insurgents attacked the area in Baghdad where the US was building a new $600-million embassy. A mortar shell smashed into the partially built embassy, damaging a wall and causing minor injuries to people inside the building. It also exposed enormous problems in the management of the construction project.
The contractor in charge, James L. Golden, attempted to alter the scene of the blast, according to government officials. Furthermore, the State Department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) prevented other State Department officials from investigating the incident.
US Ambassador Ryan Crocker banished Golden from Iraq, but Golden continued to oversee the construction of the Baghdad embassy and serve as the liaison with the new contractor, Kuwait-based First Kuwaiti General Trading and Contracting Co. It was also discovered that OBO continued to use Golden on other projects.
The embassy has been plagued by other deficiencies. The electrical system in the dining facility of a nearby guard camp malfunctioned when it was tested. State Department officials defended its contractor, First Kuwaiti, and blamed Houston-based KBR, Inc., which was hired to operate the facility. Meanwhile, First Kuwaiti said it stood by the quality of its work. In January 2008, a media story revealed that the firefighting systems were defective, and that State Department leaders rushed to declare the new embassy complex completed, ignoring the concerns of the department’s professional fire experts.
State Dept. orders another review of troubled Baghdad embassy (by Warren P. Strobel, McClatchy Newspapers)
Criminal probe into U.S. Embassy in Iraq construction (by Warren P. Strobel and Jonathan S. Landay, McClatchy Newspapers)
Blackwater and Other Private Security Contractors Immune from Prosecution
The use of private security companies by the State Department in Iraq came under national scrutiny in September 2006 following a firefight in Baghdad involving a group of Blackwater armed guards. While providing security for a convoy transporting US diplomats, the Blackwater guards opened fire in a traffic circle, killing 17 Iraqis. The company justified the deadly response by claiming the convoy had come under attack from insurgents. Iraqi officials and some US military personnel questioned the accounts of the Blackwater guards. A team of Justice Department and FBI investigators traveled to Iraq to conduct a two-week investigation.
A grand jury was convened in late 2007 to examine the shootings. However, federal prosecutors were not sure if the contractors could be prosecuted under US law because of a grant of immunity to Blackwater and other private security companies by the former US occupation government in Iraq. Further complicating the matter was the limited immunity that State Department investigators offered Blackwater guards as part of their investigation into the shootings.
The Blackwater controversy also exposed longstanding tensions between the State Department and the Pentagon over the use of private security companies by diplomats. Prior to the September firefight, US military leaders had complained about a lack of coordination from State Department officials when companies such as Blackwater (which the Pentagon also uses) were out in the field providing security. Military officers argued they, not the State Department, should have control over the security guards, whose aggressive behavior interfered with military operations and undermined US efforts to win Iraqi hearts and minds. Following the September incident, State and Defense officials agreed to a memorandum of understanding that gave US military leaders in Iraq more input over the use of the private guards, but still left the State Department in full control of its contractors.
State Dept. Contractors In Iraq Are Reined In (by Karen DeYoung, Washington Post)
Immunity Deals Offered to Blackwater Guards (by David Johnston, New York Times)
Blackwater Sniper Kills Iraqi Guards
Prior to the September shooting incident, Blackwater was embroiled in controversy when one of its snipers killed three Iraqi guards. The sniper opened fire from the roof of the Iraqi Justice Ministry, killing a 23-year-old guard for the state-funded Iraqi Media Network, who was standing on a balcony across an open traffic circle. Another guard rushed to his colleague’s side and was fatally shot in the neck. A third guard was found dead more than an hour later on the same balcony.
Eight people who responded to the shootings—including media network and Justice Ministry guards and an Iraqi army commander—and five network officials in the compound said none of the slain guards had fired on the Justice Ministry, where an American diplomat was in a meeting. An Iraqi police report described the shootings as “an act of terrorism” and said Blackwater was at fault. The media network concluded that the guards were killed “without any provocation.”
State Department officials defended Blackwater’s actions. Based on information from the Blackwater guards, who said they were fired upon, the State Department determined that the security team’s actions “fell within approved rules governing the use of force,” according to a DS official.
US officials and the security company offered no compensation or apology to the victims’ families. “It's really surprising that Blackwater is still out there killing people,” said Mohammed Jasim, the Iraqi Media Network’s deputy director.
A Blackwater spokesperson said the company’s guards came under “precision small-arms fire” and that the shooting was absolutely provoked.
An internal review of the State Department’s handling of private security contractors found serious deficiencies in the agency’s supervision of contractors, including Blackwater. The bureau’s director, Richard J. Griffin, was forced to resign after the report was released.
How Blackwater Sniper Fire Felled 3 Iraqi Guards (by Steve Fainaru, Washington Post)
State Department Anti-Drug Operations Criticized
In 2003 Assistant Secretary of State Bobby Charles advocated for the use of aerial spraying to combat poppy production in Afghanistan. Charles warned that the drug problem in the country was threatening to “devour” the Afghan government. Charles wanted to use a version of Roundup to kill poppy plants, claiming the pesticide was safe to use. Afghanistan officials refused to accept the idea, and eventually INL backed off.
In the fall of 2007, the Bush administration asked Congress to authorize $1.4 billion worth of equipment to Mexico and six South American nations to combat drug cartels. The proposal included communications equipment that the State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics would send to help track drug leaders. But members of a House committee attacked the plan, arguing it was time to spend more to “curb the appetite” for drugs. Committee members also cited concerns about corrupt Mexican military and police who might misuse equipment. Among the equipment to be sent to Mexico were helicopters for use in training military personnel.
Bush Goes Around Congress to Appoint Refugee Official
Ellen Sauerbrey served almost two years as the assistant secretary of state in charge of the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration—but that was only because President George W. Bush appointed the Christian conservative during a break in Congress. The President made the recess appointment because Congressional Democrats questioned Sauerbrey’s qualifications for the job, calling her another “Michael Brown,” the former head of FEMA who was forced to resign in the wake of the federal government’s poor response during Hurricane Katrina in 2005 who had no background in emergency planning.
Prior to running PRM, Sauerbrey had had no experience managing a refugee program. Instead, she had served as ambassador to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women—where she opposed international programs that supported abortion or contraception. Before that, the longtime Republican had worked as a TV talk show host and twice ran, unsuccessfully, for governor of Maryland.
Salon: A disastrous appointment (by Michelle Goldberg,
Democrats Zero In On Another Nominee (by Glenn Kessler, Washington Post)

Women's groups call on President Bush to withdraw nomination of Ellen Sauerbrey as Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration




Rewards for Justice
The Rewards for Justice (RFJ) program is one of the least known but most noteworthy efforts run by the State Department. An international variant of “America’s Most Wanted,” RFJ was created in the 1980s when criminal behavior began attracting popular attention in the United States. In the case of Rewards for Justice, the focus is on getting ordinary citizens (either from the US or other countries) to contribute information that leads to the capture or killing of terrorists. Since 9/11, the program has seen its funding go up as the Bush administration placed a premium on neutralizing “bad guys.”
For--from the Right
At a time when the threat of terrorism is at its greatest in US history, ordinary citizens should be encouraged to aid in the battle to thwart those bent on harming American citizens or interests. By doing so, the US government stands a greater chance of maintaining the safety and security of the country. As former Secretary of State Colin Powell put it, “One of the most powerful tools we have for tracking down terrorists abroad is the State Department’s Rewards for Justice Program. It gives us millions of additional pairs of eyes and ears to be on the lookout. It puts potential informants in every place a terrorist might try to operate or to hide.”
Terror war jackpot (by Oliver North, Washington Times)
Trampling Terrorists: A how-to guide (by Deroy Murdock, National Review)
Against--from the Left
Critics of the program say RFJ promotes reckless bounty hunting. There is also the concern that the financial motive may lead to questionable tips received by US officials. Some wonder if any amount of money can overcome deep-seated ethnic loyalties in places like Afghanistan. Still others question the recent US preference for killing militant-Islamic suspects using precision-guided bombs, pointing out that bombings might hurt counter-insurgency efforts, which are based on gaining trust and cooperation, in Muslim countries.
Bush’s Terrorism Tip Program Unravels (by Deep Harm, Daily Kos)
Suggested Reforms  

Bush Administration AIDS Program
One of the most ambitious, and controversial, foreign policy programs under the current Bush administration is the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Run by the State Department, through the newly created Office of the US Global Aids Coordinator (OGAC), PEPFAR has spent $15 billion over five years (2003-2008) to fight the global HIV/AIDS pandemic. The program was reauthorized for five years on July 30, 2008. During the reauthorization debate, numerous suggestions urfaced about how PEPFAR should be changed.
Practical suggestions for reforming the many contentious issues at stake in PEPFAR policy include: removing the prohibitions and “morality clauses” that complicate and impede funding disbursement to some of the most needy and vulnerable sectors of society, including Congressional earmarks for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs (recently reformed, see below) and the suppression of contraceptive and condom education and distribution; the anti-prostitution oath and prohibition of safe needle exchange initiatives. Although President Bush specifically exempted PEPFAR funding from the global gag rule (which prohibits US aid from funding family planning services that provide abortion information or services), there is still confusion about administering family planning services and the rule prevents successful implementation of dual family-planning/reproductive health and HIV/AIDS instruction and services.
2008 Reauthorization Bill
The House approved the President’s Reauthorization Bill in early April 2008. The legislation wasconsidered a compromise, evidencing a response to critical feedback - albeit one critics find incomplete and counterproductive. The one-third “abstinence only” requirement for prevention funds replaced with “balanced funding” for ABC programs based on country-specific evidence - however, the bill imposes a requirement that countries report to Congress if AB programs constitute less than half of spending on programs aimed at preventing sexual transmission, which critics label “confusing.” The 55% floor for treatment provisions was also eliminated. The Bill retains the anti-prostitution pledge requirement, and permits groups to use PEPFAR funding for HIV testing and education in family planning clinics - but not for contraception or abortion services. (That is, the programs that are allowed to integrate HIV testing, counseling and education services with family planning must already receive U.S. funding - and therefore abide to the global gag rule). The result is a failure to truly integrate family planning and HIV/AIDS initiatives.
Did Congress Forget About Women and Girls? (by Jamila Taylor, RH Reality Check)

A Remedy for PEPFAR's Flaws: Comprehensive HIV Prevention

(Population Action International)


Congressional Oversight  
Former Directors  

Colin L. Powell 2001-2005
Madeleine Albright 1997-2001
Warren Christopher 1993-1997
Lawrence Eagleburger1992-1993
James Baker 1989-1992
George Shultz 1982-1989
Alexander Haig, Jr. 1981-1982
Edmund Muskie 1980-1981
Cyrus Vance 1977-1980
Henry Kissinger 1973-1977
William Rogers 1969-1973
Dean Rusk 1961-1969
Christian Herter 1959-1961
John Foster Dulles 1953-1959
Dean Acheson 1949-1953
George Marshall 1947-1949
James Byrnes 1945-1947
Edward Stettinius, Jr.  1944-1945
Cordell Hull 1933-1944
Henry L. Stimson 1929-1933
Frank Kellogg 1925-1929
Charles Evans Hughes 1921-1925
Bainbridge Colby 1920-1921
Robert Lansing 1915-1920
William Jennings Bryan 1913-1915
Philander Knox 1909-1913
Robert Bacon 1909
Elihu Root 1905-1909
John Hay 1898-1905
William Rufus Day 1898
John Sherman 1897-1898
Richard Olney 1895-1897
Walter Quintin Gresham 1893-1895
John Watson Foster 1892-1893
James Gillespie Blaine 1889-1892
Thomas Francis Bayard 1885-1889
Frederick Theodore Frelinghuysen 1881-1885
James Gillespie Blaine 1881
William Maxwell Evarts 1877-1881
Hamilton Fish 1869-1877
Elihu Benjamin Washburne 1869
William H. Seward 1861-1869
Jeremiah Sullivan Black 1860-1861
Lewis Cass 1857-1860
William Learned Marcy 1853-1857
Edward Everett 1852-1853
Daniel Webster 1850-1852
John Middleton Clayton 1849-1850
James Buchanan 1845-1849
John Caldwell Calhoun 1843-1845
Abel Parker Upshur 1843-1844
Daniel Webster 1841-1843
John Forsyth 1834-1841
Louis Mclane 1833-1834
Edward Livingston 1831-1833
Martin Van Buren 1826-1831
Henry Clay 1825-1829
John Quincy Adams 1817-1825
James Monroe 1811-1814; 1815-1817
Robert Smith 1809-1811
James Madison 1801-1809
John Marshall 1800-1801
Timothy Pickering 1795-1800
Edmund Randolph 1794-1795
Thomas Jefferson 1789-1793


Ivan Guardia - 8/16/2012 9:30:42 AM              
i just want to get assistance for an issue i had with peruvian costums back from 2010 to 2012. i wanto to know whom i can report this isue for the proper assistance, because the sunat (peruvian agency) violated some of my rights and caused me economical damaged. please send me contact information to get proper assistance. thanks ivan guardia

StopUSAGiveaway - 8/28/2011 6:52:22 PM              
former monsanto employees, now fda and epa are unconscionable deceptive liears pushing genetically modified et all. you should have to sit in jail and eat all until you rot and blow away. the world hates the usa--their elites just love the checks you keep passing out to and night while us military have been and right now are being systematically sacrificed on foreign soil each generation. hell awaits all of you who never risked anything nor contributed to one nation under god while others have died for your freedoms of which you have spit upon the safe soil from which you and yours safely reside. your souls are bought and paid for by the devil himself. may you depart asap in jesus christ's name amen what a national and global disgrace and that isn't all that the usa government has done unto us...

Trevor Forrester - 1/19/2011 11:48:22 AM              
I filed a complaint with the OIG,and I was told that the correct office to handle that complaint is the Bureau of Consular Affairs (CA) and the OIG forwarded my complaint to that office and they would contact me. The Ref # H20110348 which was forwarded on Jan 7th 2011 and I have not heard anything from them. Please contact me and confirm that my complaint is being processed so I will not kep trying to contact this office. Thanks for your attention. Trevor A Forrester. MSG US Army Ret

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Table of Contents

Founded: 1789
Annual Budget: $11.4 billion
Employees: 40,000

Department of State
Clinton, Hillary Rodham

Hillary Clinton was the first First Lady to be elected to Congress and is the first First Lady to serve in a cabinet position.

Born Hillary Diane Rodham on October 26, 1947, in Chicago, IL, Clinton was raised by her parents, Hugh Ellsworth Rodham and Dorothy Emma Howell. Politically conservative, her father managed a small drapery business, while her mother stayed at home to raise Clinton and her two younger brothers, Hugh and Tony.
While growing up in Park Ridge, IL, Clinton was both a Brownie and a Girl Scout. Her first taste of politics came at age 13 when she walked neighborhoods on the South Side of Chicago during the 1960 presidential election—in support of Richard Nixon. In 1962, she met Martin Luther King, Jr. in Chicago, and in 1964, she volunteered for the campaign of Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater.
Clinton attended Maine East High School and Maine South High School, participating in student council and the school newspaper. She was selected for the National Honor Society and was a National Merit Finalist when she graduated in 1965.
Clinton attended Wellesley College and majored in political science. The political conservatism she inherited from her father continued, at first; she served as president of the Wellesley Young Republicans during her freshman year. But by her junior year, the civil rights movement and protests against the Vietnam War began to cause her philosophy to shift to the left. During the summer of 1968 she worked as an intern in Washington for the House Republican Conference. While still a Republican, she supported the Democratic campaign of Eugene McCarthy. Her split from the GOP was not complete until the 1968 Republican National Convention in Miami, which she attended. Upset over Nixon’s harsh portrayal of Nelson Rockefeller, the moderate Republican whom she supported, and the GOP’s “veiled” racist messages, she left the Republican Party for good.
Clinton graduated from Wellesley in 1969 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science, with honors. She delivered the first-ever student address at commencement, during which she criticized Republican Senator Edward Brooke, who had spoken before her, as a Nixon apologist. The speech garnered her media attention in national publications.
Immediately after college, Clinton worked her way across Alaska, including time at a fish cannery, where she reportedly was fired for complaining about the unhealthy working conditions. She then attended Yale Law School and served on the editorial board of the Yale Review of Law and Social Action. In 1970, she was awarded a grant to work at the Washington Research Project (which later became the Children’s Defense Fund) and was assigned to Senator Walter Mondale’s Subcommittee on Migratory Labor. While still attending Yale, she met fellow law student Bill Clinton, and the two began dating.
They campaigned together for George McGovern in 1972. The following year, Hillary received her Juris Doctor degree, after which Bill proposed marriage. Hillary declined—the first of many rebuffs to come—and instead opted to perform a year of post-graduate study on children and medicine at the Yale Child Study Center. During 1974 she was a member of the impeachment inquiry staff in Washington, DC, advising the House Committee on the Judiciary during the Watergate scandal. After failing the District of Columbia bar exam and passing the Arkansas exam, Clinton decided to move to Arkansas, where Bill Clinton was teaching law and running for Congress. She joined him at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, law school, becoming one of only two female instructors.
After turning down several more of Bill’s marriage proposals, she finally agreed, and the two were married on October 11, 1975, in a Methodist ceremony in their newly purchased home. She kept the name Hillary Rodham in an attempt to keep her professional life separate from Bill’s.
Her husband’s race for Congress failed in 1974, but two years later he was elected state attorney general of Arkansas. Having moved to the state capital of Little Rock, Clinton joined the politically-connected Rose Law Firm, specializing in patent infringement and intellectual property law. In 1977, she co-founded the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, which allied itself with the Children’s Defense Fund. Her connections within the Democratic Party garnered her an appointment by President Jimmy Carter to the board of directors of the Legal Services Corporation in 1978. From mid-1978 to mid-1980, she served as the board’s first female chair.
In 1978, she became First Lady of Arkansas after Bill won his first race for governor. Later that year, Clinton became the first female full partner of the Rose Law Firm. Also in 1979, the Clintons formed a business venture with James and Susan McDougal to develop vacation homes along the White River in Arkansas. The Whitewater Development Corporation would prove to be a business failure and a political nightmare for the Clintons during the 1990s.
On February 27, 1980, Clinton gave birth to her only child, Chelsea.
With his gubernatorial term lasting only two years, Bill ran for re-election in 1980, and lost. But he and Hillary returned to power in 1983 after Bill won the 1982 race for governor. For the next 10 years, the Clintons ruled the governor’s mansion, and Hillary began to refer to herself at times as “Hillary Clinton” or “Mrs. Bill Clinton” to assuage Arkansas’s conservative voters. As First Lady of Arkansas, Clinton was named chair of the Arkansas Educational Standards Committee, where she sought to implement reforms to the state’s public schools. She also fought a lengthy battle against the state’s teachers union to establish mandatory teacher testing, and was appointed chair of the Rural Health Advisory Committee. In addition, she sat on the board of directors for Wal-Mart for six years (1986-1992). She advocated for more environmentally friendly practices at Wal-Mart, but did little to try and change the company’s anti-union practices. Clinton also served on the board of directors of TCBY, the yogurt company (1985-1992), and Lafarge (1990-1992), a cement maker that was fined for pollution violations while she was a board member.
In 1991, Bill Clinton launched his campaign for the Democratic nomination for president, elevating himself and Hillary into the national limelight. Before the key primary in New Hampshire on February 19, 1992, stories appeared in the press claiming that Bill had had an affair with Gennifer Flowers for 12 years—a claim he denied and that Hillary backed him on during an appearance on “60 Minutes.” Her support was considered pivotal in preventing Bill’s campaign from imploding and allowing him to move forward to capture the Democratic nomination and eventually the presidency.
During his first year in office, Bill selected Hillary as his point person to carry out an ambitious health care reform plan that would require employers to provide health coverage to employees through HMOs. The plan was attacked by the insurance industry and its supporters, some of whom labeled the plan “Hillarycare.” Despite Democrats being in control of both houses of Congress, the Clinton health care plan stalled on Capitol Hill, and by September 1994, it was abandoned by the White House. During the political battle, Hillary’s popularity plummeted—from more than 50% to the mid 30s.
Also in 1994, Paula Jones came forward with claims that Bill Clinton had sexually harassed her while he was governor of Arkansas. She subsequently filed suit, and in 1998, the president agreed to settle the case out of court and pay Jones $850,000. During the ordeal, Hillary stood by her husband, insisting he had done nothing wrong.
In 1995, Hillary became a lightning rod for criticism from the rightwing for her book, It Takes a Village, in which she offered her ideal for raising children in America.  Controversy again engulfed Clinton, and her husband, when the Whitewater land deal became the focus of an intense investigation by Republican opponents and Kenneth Starr. Hillary became the first First Lady to be subpoenaed, testifying before a federal grand jury about her role in the failed real estate venture. She was never charged with any wrongdoing.
After dodging that bullet, Clinton suffered more public humiliation when a former White House intern, Monica Lewinsky, came forward in January 1998 claiming she had had sex with the president in the White House several times over a two-year period. Once again, Hillary stood by her husband as he denied the claims. The scandal did not go away, however, as Republicans in Congress pursued the Lewinsky matter in an effort to destroy the Clinton presidency by trying to impeach him. Although the House approved two articles of impeachment, the Senate failed to convict Bill Clinton on either charge of perjury or obstruction of justice.
Following the Lewinsky affair, speculation was rampant in the press over whether Clinton would separate from her husband. Although she remained married, she later admitted in her autobiography (Living History) that she wanted to “wring his neck” after Bill admitted he hadlied about his extramarital affair with Lewinsky. Instead of divorcing her husband, she moved to New York and ran for the US Senate seat of retiring Democrat Daniel Patrick Moynihan in 2000, just as Bill’s second term was ending in the White House. She became the first First Lady to run for public office, easily defeating Republican Rick Lazio (55%-43%).
When Congress debated whether to support President George W. Bush’s plan to invade Iraq in 2003, Clinton voted in favor of the controversial plan. She subsequently became a critic of the administration’s handling of the war, but she continued to defend her original vote, arguing that she had believed President Bush’s false charges that Saddam Hussein had wearons of mass destruction. In 2007, she voted three times to set a timetable for withdrawal of US troops from Iraq.
In 2006, Clinton was reelected, winning by an even wider margin than her first campaign (67%-31%) against GOP opponent John Spencer. It was not long after this that she began preparing her campaign to seek the Democratic nomination for president in 2008. For months leading up to the primary race, Clinton was considered the frontrunner. But Democratic Sen. Barack Obama surprised Clinton and many others when he won the Iowa Caucuses on January 3, while Clinton finished third (behind John Edwards).
Although she rebounded in New Hampshire five days later, Clinton found herself in a dogfight for the nomination. Over an eleven-day period from February 9-19,  Clinton lost 11 straight primaries and caucuses to Obama and, from the point of view of delegates won, the race was effectively over. However Clinton continued to challenge Obama around the country for four more months. In the end, Obama sealed the Democratic nomination. Some observers wondered if Clinton would be able to move past the bitter loss and endorse Obama for the general election. She not only publicly backed the Democratic nominee, but also gave what many analysts considered to be one of her best speeches at the Democratic National Convention in Colorado while proclaiming her support for Obama.
Following Obama’s election in November, Clinton’s name soon surfaced as a potential candidate for Secretary of State. The initial speculation was tempered by conflict-of-interest concerns over her husband’s fundraising and other activities in support of the Clinton Presidential Center and the Clinton Global Initiative. To assuage these concerns, Bill Clinton agreed to make public a list of his donors, allowing Obama to proceed with naming Hillary as his choice for Secretary of State.
During her overall political career, Hillary Clinton has concentrated on domestic issues, so her nomination to be Secretary of State was something of a surprise. However, she was a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and, as First Lady and as Senator, she gained considerable experience with foreign affairs.
Not known for her singing ability, Clinton actually won a Grammy in 1997—in the Best Spoken Word Album category for her reading of her book It Takes a Village.
What Happened to Health Care Reform? (by Paul Starr, American Prospect)
Hillary Clinton and the Whitewater Controversy: A Close-Up (by David Maraniss and Susan Schmidt, Washington Post)
Rice, Condoleezza
Previous Secretary
A native of Birmingham, Alabama, Condoleezza Rice became Secretary of State on January 26, 2005, and served until President George W. Bush left office. Rice earned her bachelor’s degree in political science, cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of Denver in 1974; her master’s from the University of Notre Dame in 1975; and her PhD from the Graduate School of International Studies at the University of Denver in 1981.
After finishing school, Rice joined the faculty at Stanford University in 1981 as a professor of political science. At Stanford, she was a member of the Center for International Security and Arms Control, a Senior Fellow of the Institute for International Studies, and a Fellow (by courtesy) of the Hoover Institution.
In 1986, while an international affairs fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations, Rice served as special assistant to the director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
From 1989 through March 1991, the period of German reunification and the final days of the Soviet Union, Rice served in the George H. W. Bush Administration as director, and then senior director, of Soviet and East European Affairs in the National Security Council, and a Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs.
In 1997, she served on the Federal Advisory Committee on Gender-Integrated Training in the Military.
In June 1999, she completed a six-year tenure as Stanford University’s provost, during which she was the institution’s chief budget and academic officer. As provost she was responsible for a $1.5 billion annual budget and the academic program involving 1,400 faculty members and 14,000 students.
In January 2001, Rice became the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, commonly referred to as the National Security Advisor, a post she held until becoming Secretary of State.
Rice has been a member of the boards of directors for the Chevron Corporation, the Charles Schwab Corporation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the University of Notre Dame, the International Advisory Council of JP Morgan and the San Francisco Symphony Board of Governors. She was a founding board member of the Center for a New Generation, an educational support fund for schools in East Palo Alto and East Menlo Park, California, and was vice president of the Boys and Girls Club of the Peninsula. In addition, her past board service has encompassed such organizations as Transamerica Corporation, Hewlett Packard, the Carnegie Corporation, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, The Rand Corporation, the National Council for Soviet and East European Studies, the Mid-Peninsula Urban Coalition and KQED, a public broadcasting station in San Francisco.
Rice’s books include Germany Unified and Europe Transformed (1995) with Philip D. Zelikow, The Gorbachev Era (1986) with Alexander Dallin, and The Soviet Union and the Czechoslovak Army, 1848-1983: Uncertain Allegiance (1984).
During her time in the Bush administration, Rice has been at the center of numerous controversies involving the 9/11 terrorist attacks and attempts to politicize American intelligence. Following the attacks on the World Trade Center and Washington, DC, Rice was one of the key administration officials singled out by critics who argued the US government should have done more to warn and prevent the tragedy. In March 2004, Rice was involved in a high-profile controversy over her refusal to publicly testify under oath before the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, more commonly referred to as the 9/11 Commission. When former White House counter-terrorism adviser Richard Clarke gave evidence on March 25, 2004, he bluntly said that Bush’s national security advisers, and Rice especially, failed to take warnings of al-Qaeda attacks on America seriously.
In the period leading up to the US invasion of Iraq in March 2003, Rice was one of the Bush administration’s most visible messengers arguing why the United States should go to war. Repeatedly, Rice promoted the weapons-of-mass-destruction argument, claiming Saddam Hussein’s government had such devices and that action was needed to rid this threat against the world. After the US secured control of the country and conducted numerous searches for WMDs, and found nothing, Rice again was a leading spokesperson trying to spin the administration out of trouble, claiming WMDs were never really the justification for the war.
In 2006, Rice ranked No. 2 on Forbes’ “100 Most Powerful Women in the World,” second only to Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany. By 2008, Rice had dropped to No. 7.
Rice has the distinction of being the only Secretary of State who had an oil tanker named after her. Chevron named an oil tanker Condoleezza Rice but later renamed the ship Altair Voyager. Rice said the decision stemmed from her tenure on the board of the oil giant, which had a policy of naming tankers after its directors. Rice was a director of Chevron from 1991 to 2001.
The 100 Most Powerful Women: #2 Condoleezza Rice (Forbes)