Last week, the US Department of State released an Inspector General’s report on the US Embassy in Malta [pdf], headed up by Ambassador Douglas Kmiec. Kmiec is an outspoken Republican (head of the Office of Legal Counsel under Reagan) and a conservative Roman Catholic, who bucked both the GOP and many in his church to support Obama in his presidential race against John McCain.
At CNN, religion editor Dan Gilgoff led his story about the IG report like this:
The U.S. ambassador to Malta has upset the State Department by devoting so much time to writing and speaking about faith-related issues, according to a report from the department’s inspector general released last week.
Today, Michael Sean Winters of the National Catholic Reporter broke the news that Kmiec has submitted his resignation, to be effective on August 15th — the Roman Catholic Feast of the Assumption and also a date that will allow Kmiec to remain in Malta until the construction of a new embassy is complete and the move to new quarters is finished.
NCR has both Kmiec’s letter to Obama last Wednesday [pdf], responding to the IG report and also offering his resignation, and his letter to Secretary of State Clinton [pdf] dated today, offering a fuller defense of himself. In both letters, Kmiec describes the problem as revolving around his writings and the amount of time spent on them. In the letter to Obama, he leads by saying the IG report
expressed dissatisfaction with the extent of the time during my service that I’ve devoted to promoting what I know you believe in most strongly — namely, personal faith and a greater mutual understanding of the faiths of others as the way toward greater mutual respect.
To Clinton, he pointed to the same issue, complaining that “The OIG failed to read any of my writing or see its highly positive effect on our bilateral relations,” as if that were the entire issue under discussion.
That may be how Kmiec wants to spin the debate, but that’s not what a reading of the actual OIG report [pdf] reflects. Here’s what the IG said right up front about the three areas to be inspected (p. ii):
- Policy Implementation: whether policy goals and objectives are being effectively achieved; whether U.S. interests are being accurately and effectively represented; and whether all elements of an office or mission are being adequately coordinated.
- Resource Management: whether resources are being used and managed with maximum efficiency, effectiveness, and economy and whether financial transactions and accounts are properly conducted, maintained, and reported.
- Management Controls: whether the administration of activities and operations meets the requirements of applicable laws and regulations; whether internal management controls have been instituted to ensure quality of performance and reduce the likelihood of mismanagement; whether instance of fraud, waste, or abuse exist; and whether adequate steps for detection, correction, and prevention have been taken.