The corruption of US government international broadcasting continues apace. Daniel Lippman of Politico writes that:
The U.S. Agency for Global Media has hired Frank Wuco, a controversial former talk radio host who once called President Barack Obama “a Kenyan” and said Nancy Pelosi was a Botox-using Nazi, according to three USAGM officials…. In 2017, CNN reported: “Among the conspiracy theories Wuco pushed were claims that former President Barack Obama’s memoir was ghost written by former anti-Vietnam War radical Bill Ayers, claims that former CIA director John Brennan converted to Islam and claims Attorney General Eric Holder had been a member of the Black Panthers.”
He does sound like a real gem.
Earlier in his career, Wuco also worked as an adviser to parts of the military about how Islamic terrorists thought. As part of that, he created a jihadist alter-ego named “Fuad Wasul,” an identity he used to dress up in Islamic garb. He also had a radio segment called “Ask the Jihadist.”
“I’m sure that will go over well with our Middle East Broadcasting Networks audience,” quipped one [United States Agency for Global Media] official.
if only Wuco’s hire was the worst thing happening at USAGM. If you’ve followed developments there, then you know that it’s not.
On Wednesday, Pack removed seven top long-serving officials from the agency for alleged security violations related to the proper vetting of foreign nationals who were hired to be journalists for USAGM’s broadcast networks and the vetting of the agency’s American employees.
Among the people removed was general counsel David Kligerman. In mid-June, USAGM’s front office, at the direction of chief of staff Emily Newman, asked a new senior political appointee to compile negative information about Kligerman to justify his removal. The request came only a few days after Kligerman had raised concerns about the lawfulness of Pack’s mass terminations and reassignments on Pack’s first day. The appointee felt uncomfortable with the instruction and soon left for another part of the Trump administration, according to three people familiar with the matter.
The front office then installed former State Department official Mora Namdar as acting vice president for legal affairs, risk and compliance. According to two of the people, she fulfilled the original request to compile material against Kligerman and worked in tandem with Newman to undermine and sideline him. Newman and Namdar didn’t respond to requests for comment.
As Lippman reported in an earlier article:
John Lansing, who served as USAGM’s CEO from 2015 to 2019, defended Turner and Kligerman, calling them “highly professional” and “people who have served their country at the highest level for a number of years.”
“The hiring of foreign nationals was something that we took seriously and used a higher standard than what the Office of Personnel Management required because of national security,” he said. “Michael Pack is using this as a smokescreen to cover up his efforts to deconstruct the legitimate and important journalism of Voice of America.”
Other USAGM executives who were removed on Wednesday include chief strategy officer Shawn Powers, deputy director for operations Matt Walsh, executive director Oanh Tran and director of management services Marie Lennon. None could be reached immediately for comment.
In reaction to the personnel shakeup on Wednesday, Amanda Bennett, who was the head of Voice of America until she resigned shortly after Pack’s arrival, said: “The American people are going to be very very sorry when they wake up one day and find that by these individual actions — one at a time that nobody stopped — they’ve lost the functioning government they once had.
“What is happening at USAGM is a microcosm of what’s happening all across the U.S. government — driving out honest, skilled, talented long serving professional public servants on trumped up charges and replacing them with people of no qualifications whose only attribute is loyalty. McCarthy couldn’t have done it better.”
I thought I’d close by sharing the official mission of the Broadcasting Board of Governors:
The Broadcasting Board of Governors’ mission is to promote freedom and democracy and to enhance understanding by broadcasting accurate, objective, and balanced news and information about the United States and the world to audiences abroad.
The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) became an independent agency on October 1, 1999, by authority of the Foreign Affairs Reform and Restructuring Act of 1998 (22 U.S.C. 6501 note). It is composed of nine members. Eight members are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate; the ninth, an ex-officio member, is the Secretary of State.
The BBG serves as the governing body for all nonmilitary U.S. broadcasting and provides programming in 56 languages via radio, television, and the Internet. The BBG broadcast services include the Voice of America, the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia, and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks.
All BBG broadcast services adhere to the broadcasting standards and principles of the International Broadcasting Act of 1994, which include reliable, accurate, and comprehensive news; balanced and comprehensive presentations of U.S. thought, institutions, and policies, as well as discussions about those policies; information about developments throughout the world; and a variety of opinions from nations around the world.