Susan Pompeo doesn’t really care, do u?
At a time when most State Department staff weren’t allowed to travel for work and some weren’t even allowed to use their work phones, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s wife Susan embarked on an eight-day trip with her husband, requiring unpaid staffers to prepare and support her across the Middle East.
Many diplomats, already demoralized by the partial government shutdown, were angry, according to multiple sources familiar with the situation.
“Eyebrows were raised from the start, from the planning, on why is she coming, and why is she coming during the shutdown?,” one person familiar with the matter told CNN.
A senior State Department official said “This is BS. You don’t bring more people that need staffing, transportation, etc. when embassy employees are working without being paid.”
It was Susan Pompeo’s presence on the trip at a time State Department staff are working without pay that seemed to cause the furor.
There are also questions over whether the use of State Department staffers’ time to assist her violated federal regulations.
The secretary described it as a “working trip” for her — telling reporters she joined him to try to help the department “be better.”
“So she meets with the medical officers. She’ll tour housing. She will write up her thoughts and comments after that. And I wish I had time to do each of those things myself, but she is a force multiplier,” he said.
The State Department says most diplomats abroad have not been paid during the shutdown. Sources said many had to come to work anyway to handle this trip — for some requiring very long hours. It’s unclear exactly how many people on the Pompeo trip were not being paid.
According to three people familiar, Susan Pompeo was assigned a control officer who worked exclusively with her. That person was on call for weeks, the sources said, and at each of the stops, Susan Pompeo had her own staffer and her own security personnel.
Furloughed, unpaid State department employees in the various overseas embassies were called in to support the trip by the secretary of state, because his travels are considered a high priority.
Two sources familiar with the situation said that at one of the stops, a staffer and security were tasked with taking Susan Pompeo to the local market and shopping with her — an activity which caused a delay of about 35 minutes in departure to the next stop, they said.
“They felt like fools, since nearly everyone was working — working around the clock — but not being paid! And then they felt even more like fools,” one person familiar said.
A State Department official said Susan Pompeo would pay for her expenses for the trip where appropriate, and that her joining her husband meets all requirements of the Department.
Nonetheless, people “far and wide across the embassies” were “outraged” at being given these additional responsibilities during the shutdown, according to one of the people familiar.
“No one’s pleased,” the source said. “There’s no appreciation for what everyone is doing. No acknowledgment. This is real.”
Walter Shaub, the former director of the Office of Government Ethics, said the use of agency staff could violate conduct regulations.
Mike Pompeo’s wife has been causing trouble since Pompeo was at CIA. Remember this?
Susan Pompeo, the wife of Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo, has taken an unusually active and prominent role at the organization, and has fashioned herself as an unofficial “first lady of the CIA,” according to people with knowledge of her activities.
Pompeo, who is a volunteer at the CIA, uses office space on the seventh-floor headquarters in Langley, Va., where senior leaders, including the director, have their offices. A support staff of CIA employees assists her in her duties, although that is not their full-time job. And Pompeo travels with her husband, who President Trump nominated last week to replace Rex Tillerson as secretary of state, including on trips he takes overseas to meet with foreign intelligence officials.
Last year, Pompeo accompanied the CIA director on a trip to Britain, where he met with his counterpart Alex Younger, the head of the Secret Intelligence Service, or MI6, according to people familiar with the trip. Pompeo also went with the CIA director on a tour of Fort Monckton, a military base in southern England where MI6 trains its personnel.
While it is not unheard of for directors’ spouses to take on volunteer work, particularly advocating for families, Susan Pompeo’s presence at the agency, along with her use of office space and help from staff, has raised questions internally about the nature of her duties and why agency resources are being used to support her, according to people who spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk about a sensitive subject.
I guess it’s ok that she volunteers her time. But there’s something really uhm… entitled about setting up your own power center based on your spouses important job and demanding that his subordinates do your bidding. To do it when people are being forced to work for free is just creepy.