President Trump has not yet nominated a State Department official to oversee the security of diplomats abroad, despite having often skewered Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail for leaving Ambassador Chris Stevens vulnerable in Benghazi when she was serving as secretary of state. "I guess we should all be immune to hypocrisy in politics at some point," Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) told Politico. "But I just continue to worry, not only in terms of this position, but most of the agencies are just empty at this point because they've not put people up."
Ambassadorships aside, Trump has only nominated two people to senior management positions at the State Department: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his deputy, John Sullivan. That leaves over three dozen senior spots unfilled. "Unfortunately, I think it's indicative of the low priority that Trump and the administration are placing on diplomacy or anything to do with the State Department," said Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.).
Even Republicans are concerned about the absence of a dedicated official to head the Bureau of Diplomatic Security. "The State Department has security professionals who are up to the job, but we do need all hands on deck given the many evolving threats we face," Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) told Politico. "I hope a nominee for assistant secretary will be put forward soon."
The official would be tasked with protecting U.S. embassies and other diplomatic locations across 160 countries. There were 22 "significant attacks" against diplomatic facilities in 2015.
"The safety and security of U.S. personnel overseas remains our highest priority," stressed Republican Sen. Bob Corker (Tenn.). "We expect a number of nominations for the department in the coming days, and we hope the administration will prioritize naming a permanent head of the bureau as soon as possible."