Doug Kmiec Resigns

by Michael Sean Winters

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U.S. Ambassador to Malta, Douglas Kmiec, has resigned. His resignation will take effect on the Feast of the Assumption, August 15, allowing him to conclude several projects, including the opening of a new embassy compound this summer.

Kmiec's resignation comes in the wake of a report from the Office of Inspector General that claimed Kmiec was spending too much time on writings and speeches unrelated to bilateral relations. My colleague Joe Feuerhard has already dissected that report. It now appears that the "friendly fire" aimed at Kmiec was not that friendly after all.

Ambassador Kmiec, in his letter of resignation to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, noted the OIG report, which he said was based on "the unsupported speculation that someone doing as much writing as I have done could not have also been devoted to the embassy mission. The contrary proof, Madame Secretary, is in the strength of our embassy. Our work is careful, thorough, and timely, and I am fully apprised of all of it, and of course, fully supported by men and women of great dedication and ability."

Kmiec also noted that the tiny embassy in Malta was one of a few deemed "essential" in the run-up to the narrowly averted government shutdown, largely because of Malta's proximity to Libya, which is its nearest neighbor, and the influx of refugees from that war-torn country.

Read more about Douglas Kmiec here

Read Kmiec's letter to Secretary of State Clinton

Read Kmiec's letter to President Obama

Kmiec linked his work on inter-religious dialogue with Secretary Clinton's work on a host of soft power, or "smart power," issues that have been one of Clinton's hallmarks, building relationships with an entire culture and not merely government officials.

Kmiec clearly felt that in the wake of the OIG report, he would be unable to carry out his mission as he thinks it ought to be done. "In the weeks since the OIG’s flawed and narrow vision of our diplomatic mission, people of good will in the middle ranks of our Department have seen it as their calling to strictly enforce it," Kmiec wrote. "As a consequence, my voice has been prevented from speaking; my pen has been enjoined from writing; and my actions have been confined to the ministerial. You deserve better, but until these rigid, and rigidly narrow, perspectives are overcome, you and the President are being deprived of the intelligent insight of much of your Embassy’s work."

Kmiec's resignation is a grave loss to the diplomatic corps.

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