Welcome to Dipnote

Posted by Sean McCormack
September 25, 2007
Sean McCormack During Morning Press Gaggle

Welcome to the State Department's first-ever blog, Dipnote. As a communicator for the Department, I have the opportunity to do my fair share of talking on a daily basis. With the launch of Dipnote, we are hoping to start a dialogue with the public. More than ever, world events affect our daily lives--what we see and hear, what we do, and how we work. I hope Dipnote will provide you with a window into the work of the people responsible for our foreign policy, and will give you a chance to be active participants in a community focused on some of the great issues of our world today.

With Dipnote we are going to take you behind the scenes at the State Department and bring you closer to the personalities of the Department. We are going to try and break through some of the jargon and talk about how we operate around the world.

We invite you to participate in this community, and I am looking forward to stepping away from my podium every now and then into the blogosphere. Let the conversation begin.

PS - We're new at this. It looks like we broke our own rule and used State jargon in our blog title. "Dipnote" refers to a diplomatic note. It is one of the many ways in which governments formally communicate with each other.

The dictionary definition of a diplomatic note is: "A formal communication between an ambassador and a minister (usually the foreign minister) of this host government or another ambassador."



December 28, 2007

Ali in Iraq writes:

Dear Sir,

This is Ali from Iraqi Kurdistan, I am journalist and political writer.

I am interested in writing articles and stories to your blog if you are interested.

Especially I want to write about the U.S. policy in Iraq and toward the Kurds.

All the best,

Oregon, USA
December 28, 2007

Libby in Oregon writes:

My comment is on the Bhutto murder. I understand there are things the general public will never know. From the reading I have formed some opinions. I think the Pakistan PM had to have clue she was in the sights of the Islamist terrorist and he has failed to provide intel to her. For God's sake they killed a woman with a purse. The PM is probably next and he thinks that by letting the Tribal Leaders, Extremists and others operate that’s his get out of their sights free card. I believe this provides us with the opportunity to leverage the ability to go into the Tribal area and finish off the Taliban, OBL and others.

Georgia, USA
January 3, 2008

Peter in Georgia writes:

Focus on the Bhutto assassination may have left many unaware of recent important developments in Kenya. A civilian coup has been perpetrated by the incumbent president Mwai Kibaki. Having adjusted the December 29th election tallies, the former government is now illegally in office. The populace is not taking being hoodwinked lightly and riots have broken out across the country. The death toll is reported to be between 150 - 500. Reliable reports are not forthcoming as a media blackout, and curfew has been enforced by the usurpers. I speak for many voiceless Kenyans as I urge the U.S.,U.K.,E.U.,the Commonwealth and the international community not to legitimize the crimes being committed against the Kenyan people.

Hawaii, USA
January 4, 2008

Sam in Hawaii writes:

In the season of political primaries, I would like to know why the Secretary is not running for President. I might just have to write her in next November.

Oregon, USA
January 14, 2008

Samantha in Oregon writes:

Why do families who never used government assistance who haven’t done anything wrong who pays there taxes have to be torn apart by immigration deportation. The immigrants who kill, steal, and destroy who are violent, abusive, and commit hate crimes get to stay this is very wrong and it needs to be changed.

Michigan, USA
January 22, 2008

Cathy in Michigan writes:

@ Ali in Kurdistan -- I don't know if the State Department bloggers gave you an answer, but I personally would like to hear what you have to say! Carry on!

Illinois, USA
January 22, 2008

Bryon in Illinois writes:

The dialogue I have with Iran is interesting. I've been in touch with their embassy. The United States Institute of Peace signaled recently a change in Middle East strategy and brought up 15 key points to consider when negotiating with Iran. While Iran states they oppose the occupation of Palestine, they also don't oppose Judaism. I recall reading about Israel's nuclear program. Does the U.S. take this into account when dealing with Iran's fears of Israel? Rational discussion of this situation has yet to transpire in my opinion.

United States
January 30, 2008

Freddy from U.S.A. writes:

I would like to know why the State Department is allowed to engage in NEPOTISM in it's hiring practices? A husband or spouse, if qualified, will be hired before any other U.S. citizen at a foreign post for a local position. The State Department will not even allow a U.S. CITIZEN to apply for a position in a foreign country unless you live in that country and have a valid visa to work in that country. The Department, if there are no "trailing spouses" will then offer the job to a citizen of that country and may very well pay them less than the American citizen would have received.

Funny how ILLEGAL immigrants can come to my country, the U.S.A. and the ICE (government) does nothing to arrest them and deport them yet if I seek employment in MEXICO et al with my own government barriers are thrown in front of me. Then they hire some 24 year old with little foreign language skills as a newbie FSO. It was good to try to understand some FSO on Argentinean radio who spoke a horrible Spanish.

Then there are the free trade deals where the State Department helps shut down our own factories here in the US for cheap labor in other countries. Yes, at the request of the Congress.

Finally, I get a kick out of the FSO's who don't want to go to Iraq. You knew the score when you applied for the Foreign Service. Most U.S. citizens have little clue as to the benefits you receive in foreign countries at taxpayer expense. Like sending your children to the most expensive private schools at taxpayer expense?

In many foreign countries, you can knock on the front door of another country's embassy and consulate. The U.S. has to spend billions on security and barbed wire. Oh well?

Virginia, USA
February 13, 2008

D in Virginia writes:

This whole blog is simply a puff-piece propaganda site for a discredited Administration and discredited foreign policy and discredited State Department (at least Secretary-I can attest from personal experience that the professionals remain professional).

If you spent more time and energy on getting our policy right, I would applaud you. Instead, I marvel at your Chutzpah in putting this "stuff" ( a euphemism for the ___ you post) on line and how the yahoos outside the Beltway actually buy in to your puerile drivel.

February 15, 2008

NB in Pakistan writes:

Feedback from the general public does help in getting the policy right. I sincerely believe that DIPNOTE is a good idea, it also helps us crazy yahoos know something about how the general public feel about different matters/issues.

February 19, 2008

Anjey writes:

It's great idea start this blog, where people can see news and share comments. Information is important part of government work and I hope this will be useful as for your as us.

Kansas, USA
February 19, 2008

Ken in Kansas writes:

Words have Meaning -- What is a Kosovar?

On Sunday, Kosovo declared independence from Serbia with the support of the U.S. and several European countries. Over the years, President Bush and former President Clinton, the State Department along with other government entities, and just about every form of media use this term to define a Kosovo Albanian and Kosovo Serb.

While assigned to Kosovo in 2001, I worked closely with the Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo shortly after the fall of Slobodan Milosevic. Our mission was to provide a safe and secure environment for all citizens of Kosovo. The Serbian Orthodox Church at the time represented the new Serbian government under Vojislav Kostunica. My contact was with Bishop Artemije, the Bishop of Kosovo and Father Sava, Protosyncellus to the Bishop to ensure a safe and secure environment for the Kosovo Serbs.

So what does Kosovar mean to a Kosovo Serb. The word "Kosovar" is an Albanian translation of the Serb name "Kosovac" and today in Kosovo when someone says Kosovar one primarily means of Kosovo Albanians. Kosovo Albanian refers to Kosovo as Kosova. For an Orthodox Serbs, they refer to Kosovo as the fatherland which is Kosovo and Metohija. This dates back to the 13th Century. When a Kosovo Serb hears the word Kosovar, it means to them an ethnically pure Kosovo with only Kosovo Albanians. It means leave or genocide. When you use the word Kosovar in their presence, in their mind, you support genocide of the Kosovo Serb people. Obviously, the Presidents, State Department, other government entities, and media doesn't support genocide for the remaining 120,000 Kosovo Serbs and the 200,000 displaced Kosovo Serbs in Serbia. However, words have meaning and the use of the word Kosovar unwittingly incites unnecessary violence among the people due to ignorance of the past and culture.

Georgia, USA
March 1, 2008

Peter in Georgia writes:

On behalf of the Kenyan people I would like to thank the U.S.,U.K.,E.U., and the international community for sanctioning the mediation process in Kenya. I would like to thank President Bush, and Secretary Rice (whom travelled to Nairobi) for their involvement in seeing to a coalition agreement signed. Kenyans await the implementation of this agreement. I urge the U.S. and the international community to maintain vigilance and see the peace plan through to its fruition, so that Kenyans can once more say "Hakuna Matata". Asante Sana.

United States
March 5, 2008

James in U.S.A. writes:

Date: Wed, 5 Mar 2008 07:46:52 -0800 (PST)

From: "James" Subject: For Pedro Echevarria and Ambassador David Satterfield

To: Pedro Echevarria

CC: David Satterfield

Dear Pedro,

How could you allow Ambassador Satterfield to warmonger against Iran (for AIPAC) this morning during his segment for 'Washington Journal' when it is obvious that he is acting as an agent of Israel instead of a being loyal member of the American government? You can read more about his mention in the ongoing AIPAC espionage case via my post on the 'Welcome' page (can scroll down to it at the following URL) of the State Department blog which was launched last year (you had to have known about his mention in association with the AIPAC espionage case but apparently didn't have the courage to even ask him about such):


See the following URL (scroll down to the Jerusalem Post article there as it is incredible how Ambassador Satterfield is still working in the U.S. government after being named in association with that AIPAC case like so):


Can also see Mr. Satterfield (it appears to be him at least) in that Dutch AIPAC documentary (in English) via the following URLs when the U.S. vetoes UN resolutions against Israel:



United States
March 12, 2008

T in U.S.A. writes:

Since the employees if the State Department are civil service and can't be fired, they could be put to good use at sweeping parking lots at military bases. This would be a better use of their time than what they are doing now. Such as enabling a group of people who want to destroy us.

Florida, USA
March 17, 2008

As both a US citizen and conservation and wildlife advocate I am deeply distressed by Zimbabwe's extermination plans regarding their elephant population. Further more, since many American trophy hunters travel to this country to take advantage of this countries lax enforcement of protecting endangered species, I strongly urge the State Department to revisit their policies regarding travel to this country. I am aware of the US Treasury Department's list of banned Zimbabweans that are off limits to Americans. However, who enforces this ban? Trophy hunters are rich and know loopholes, many probably bribe corrupt officials there to falsify their travel documents, lodges stayed at, number of endangered species "bagged", etc. I believe there needs to be intense scrutiny of these individuals when they return to the US. We know Zimbabwe's record on observing recommendations covered in the ESA is deplorable. We also KNOW American citizens are breaking the law there. This must stop! Follow who has dealings with Mugabe and his cohorts, the trail of " campaign" contributions made to him by American hunters. Have the IRS look into "gifts" and "donations" made by our citizens to this corrupt government. Please, I am speaking on behalf of those who have no VOICE!

New York, USA
March 19, 2008

New American Agenda

Restore economic integrity at home and around the world.

Create an eco-sustainable energy policy.

Lead a global Human Security Initiative.

Recapture the American Dream

Bring back USIA and share the Best of America with the world.

Pennsylvania, USA
March 20, 2008

Alber from PA writes:

If someone declared that justification for his existence was killing you and your family and he threw grenades at your home would you try to have a peaceful discussion with the killer? Hamas, Hitzbollah and in fact Fatah having Terror groups are all those killers you want to have a peaceful discussion with.

Florida, USA
March 20, 2008

Paul in FL writes:

"Talking" to an organization whose announced purpose is to destroy an ally is likely to be fruitless, while conferring stature on that organization. Chamberlain talked to Hitler.

That said, it might be worth trying contacts through less
public, lower level "feelers", since the alternative is endless misery.

Of course there is another alternative. A cooperative and coordinated, firm stance by the "first world" members of the United Nations, denying recognition, aid and hope of success to the aggressor, might convince them to take a diplomatic approach instead.

stefano r.
March 21, 2008

Stefano in Italy writes:

Dear friends of Dipnote blog, I have the opportunity to do my fair share of talking on a daily basis. As I hope pacifist say: "No more wars, no terrorism, no violence and indifference that surrounds it. Just with missiles and bombs. "

On 20 March 2008, was the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq prepared by the United States, and I think the time has come to take stock. In new book, entitled "The Three Trillion Dollar War" (War three trillion dollars) Harvard lecturer Linda Bilmes a prudent estimate of 'economic impact of the war in Iraq, calculating that the United States be treated precisely costs in 'order of three thousand billion dollars, and many for the rest of the world, much more than the' Bush administration had calculated before the war.

L 'Bush Administration therefore has not only lied to the international community about the possible costs of this war, but has also tried to keep hidden as the war continued.

After all, in fact, 'Bush Administration has lied about everything else, from weapons of mass destruction which Saddam Hussein was holding his alleged links with al-Qaeda.

In reality, 'Iraq has become a breeding ground for terrorism only after' invasion led by the United States.

Thank you so much.

March 22, 2008

Deborah writes:

I have just been approved to serve a six month tour of duty in Iraq. I have been told I will be working as a support staff as I currently do in the states. I have had two other staff I work with go over and serve. I will be working with RCLO. I would like to have open communication with anyone working over in Iraq currently and talk with them about their tour in Iraq.

March 26, 2008

Mark writes:

Now that the DOD has issued a report, confirming previous State reports, that Saddam Hussein's Iraq sponsored all kinds of Islamic, anti American terrorism can the State issue some kind of response on the topic? Maybe just a blog post at least?

A response to www.regimeofterror.com 's work on the subject?

Illinois, USA
March 27, 2008

Mark in Illinois writes:

Saddam Husssein didn't "just" train, fund, harbor and arm anti American Islamic terrorists, many times he ORDERED them to attack Americans.

California, USA
April 5, 2008

Susanna in California writes:

I'm trying to find out the locations of where the Foreign Service Officer Test will held in July 2008. I would like to book my air travel early. I would appreciate any information you can provide me. Thank you.

Wisconsin, USA
April 5, 2008

Sybel in Wisconsin writes:

As a returned Peace Corps Volunteer, I appreciate the access to the information that the State Department makes available. Thank you.

April 6, 2008

Kenneth in Canada writes:

When I read some of the material put out by governments and people, I still believe that our world has been brain-washed to such an extent that people are no more than marionettes like Punch and Judy.

When Mark from Illinois writes about Saddam Hussein and puts him with Jihadist, I know that he has been gotten at by someone in the government. The Soviet Union was bad, and present day China not really any different, but must the U.S. government continue to use the same methods on its own citizens? I know for sure that a person with a brain cannot be brain-washed. So the reality is those who have brain power and a strong sense of right and wrong cannot be reached by manipulators.

April 7, 2008

Kenneth in Canada writes:

I just could not get over the statement by Robert of Washington, DC in which he tells Michael that he is entitled to his own opinion, but that that this is offensive and insulting to those in the Foreign Service.

What gave me jolt was the statement on how action has to be against certain countries for the defence of democracy. Let's look at the picture very clearly. I believe that all insurgents should treated equally, and this attitude of treating some as patriots and others as terrorist has got me stymied. I don't not think there is any difference between one insurgent and another, and my reason is this. I do not beieve that those fighting in Iraq to free their country from foreign domination are any different to George Washing and his band that wanted the British out of the American colonies. If the Iraqis are terrorists, then so are the American patriots under George Washington.

Robert from Washington, DC made a statement which cannot be borne out in reality. During the U.S. War the U.S. Navy was involved in an act of piracy, by the fact that it used arms to board the the RMS "Trent," a British ship on the high seas and took into custody two Confederate representatives at gunpoint. The U.S. government was so afraid of starting another war with Britain while the Civil War was on, that it immediately apologized and released the two Confederate representative. Thus the U.S. has made it a point to only attack weaker nations and not those nations that possess any means of retaliation. So, Robert in Washington, DC please stop your self praise and false arguments, they show you up to be another amateur trying to act like a professional, because you lack the experience. Go, get a job that you can handle, not one that is gotten by your connections, because it shows.

If you are trying to impress people, first study the subject and then you might be able to pass on knowledge.

Wisconsin, USA
April 13, 2008

Sybel in Wisconsin writes:

While at the American University, Washington, D. C., one of our friends suggested that several of us study in Europe. Therefore, we travelled. The young man that we did keep up with is the one who may have worked in your department. At any rate, he led two of us through Checkpoint Charlie in 1963. We took a student tour and ended up spending a day in East Berlin. His name is Lynn Coon. Evidently his son may resemble him a great deal and may have become friends at college with one of our neighbors. Is there a way for your Department to check as to whether he did ever work there? He travelled to Vienna when I did and then went on to Meissen, Poland. Eastern Europe was evidently an area he became interested in. he also attended The American University and originally hailed from Iowa.

Saudi Arabia
April 16, 2008

Patricia in Saudi Arabia writes:

I read the comments with interest. I have been in KSA for 8 years. Yes, there are hugh differences but I really don't believe you get to know the people if you don't associate with them. I mean in their homes with their families. I have been fortunate enough to have that experience. I have been welcomed as part of the family, even travelling with them. Not only the immediate family but their extended family as well. I have found close friends which is very important when you are away from your own. I don't speak any Arabic but when I enter their homes, the family tries to speak but actions and signs. I do think that some of the customs are difficult to understand but it's their way of life. We are fortunate that as females the only thing we have to adhere to is the abaya. The females are controlled not only by the fathers but also all males in the family as well as "what people would say." There are definately some things I dislike. The holding of passports, the exit-entry visa which is very difficult if you have older parents and need to travel quickly, especially on a weekend. Not being able to drive seems not important when I consider the things mentioned above. I have pointed out any times to my employers that when they go outside the country their passports are not held. With the dollar being in such a state right now, I find myself still wanting to stay because I love it here.

April 17, 2008

Tony in China writes:

I criticize the method used by the U.S. government to deal with the Tibet issues with double-standards. As a Chinese, I hope it will be equal to communicate with American.



Latest Stories

September 7, 2010

"Striking a Balance"

Writing for the U.S. Department of State DipNote blog, ART in EMBASSIES Curator Camille Benton highlights the work of U.S.… more
September 6, 2010

Supporting American Jobs

Writing for the U.S. Department of State DipNote blog, Under Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs Robert… more