UK Ambassador to USA resigns

Ooi, what is the procedure for dealing with an ambassador who's been "sidelined" ?. I presume it's recall and wait for another suitable post elsewhere? Some sort of advisory position for junior dips ?
Probably retirement.

He's not just an ambassador, he's the senior ambassador. HMA to the US is the most prestigious post in the FCO.
Which is why this whole issue is so worrying. HMG threw their top man under the bus - it'll be interesting to see if he's given anything in the Honours and Awards as means of thanks, as most HMA end up with a knighthood.
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
I agree with you. In my post I wasn't advocating support for any and all actions taken by our military, although given the amnesty granted to former NI terrorists I do believe our soldiers deserve no less. It's the dichotomy between the unequivocal support for soldiers that some on here espouse, some of them being among those who are quite happy with Darroch being shafted, that I think is laughable.
Dig out the Blackman thread (and the Bloody Sunday thread) and discover at your leisure how wrong you are.

Darroch was a very senior guy who made a serious professional error. Yes he wrote in the belief that the note was confidential but anyone in his position (and those more junior) must consider the possibility that what they write may see the light of day. It's more analogous to the Nick Cooke-Priest dismissal (again, another instance where Arrse generally took a dim view of the failure of leadership) than the alleged actions of junior soldiers under fire.
 
Dig out the Blackman thread (and the Bloody Sunday thread) and discover at your leisure how wrong you are.

Darroch was a very senior guy who made a serious professional error. Yes he wrote in the belief that the note was confidential but anyone in his position (and those more junior) must consider the possibility that what they write may see the light of day. It's more analogous to the Nick Cooke-Priest dismissal (again, another instance where Arrse generally took a dim view of the failure of leadership) than the alleged actions of junior soldiers under fire.
Utter bollocks.

When Civil Servants start writing materiel with an eye to expected unauthorised and illegal public disclosure, then they are imposing self censorship. They have compromised their integrity, honesty and impartiality, broken the Civil Service Code,

In effect, they are bending the truth, and misinforming their masters, because they are frightened of someone leaking their work for short sighted political gain.

That way lies the madness of a totalitarian regime where no one dares tell those in power the true situation.

Darroch made NO professional error at all. You need to get that through your head. He did his job, and the serious professional error (and crime) was by whoever chose to leak it to the press.

If you think he should have to use Moscow rules to get his dispatches back home because he can't trust his own employers not to drop him in the crap as part of petty Party machinations, then you need to give your head a wobble.
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Wouldn't there be an electronic record of who opened the document and when? I am assuming soft copy access and, yes, I know all about assumptions.
Theoretically, yes. Practically, no. There will be email logs, network logs, and (since most of these login desktops are instanced) individual system logs. All of those will theoretically be remotely accessible and be able to show if the document was accessed. For the system logs, however, it's a time consuming process, and at OS my bet is that you would be looking at thousands of systems. Also this isn't on one network. It's on Z accounts, on X networks per Y departments. Z *X*Y=A

But what I guarantee you will find is then that some have, perfectly legitimately, saved the document onto a physical machine. This will be because they have to impex it across networks; because it's OS and they can, and they like to keep copies of some stuff; they transcribe it into other documents; and so on. You'll also find from the printer logs that hard copies have been printed off, and at OS are unaccounted for. Finally, on most Windows systems, there is no difference between "viewing" and "downloading" an email attachment. So you should really look at every physical machine where someone has even opened the document.

Worst of all, you'll find that a significant number of places cut and paste text from reports to put into their own reports. So you'll have to identify all of those reports (cut and paste logs are temporary on most machines, so this is a personnel interview process too), and return to Go to start the process again. Then possibly again if the same happened.

All of this is just to establish your A accounts with authorised access. You then have to do some investigation to check that 1 account = 1 person (never does). Multiply A by number of people on each account, and you get your authorised population, P. It usually depends on the organisational structure, but for DIPTELS my bet is that it could easily be in the tens of thousands, before you even worry about who might have had unauthorised access. The latter is a nightmare: paper copies read by family at home; photos taken on a phone; reading / photographing off a screen (there's a reason Google Glass was banned from secure areas).

Theoretically, for each of those P people, you then have to go through and look at their activity relating to the document, and investigate each one that might allow onwards dissemination, like printing or downloading it. For which, refer to what I said about Windows systems downloading email attachments above.

So let's say P =10,000
Average one initial investigation at 10 working hrs (way undershot, think about all the travel time to get to these locations, and forensics programs don't run fast)
=100,000 working hours
1 investigator working 240 days a year = 2,400 working hours.
So 42 trained digital forensic investigators working for a year just to get your initial set of suspects.

Also bear in mind that before you even start your year long initial investigation above (it's probably about 3 years, because you don't have that many investigators), since this has become a big thing, the leaker has already acted to cover up every trace they can think of.

Good luck with that.

As I said, there is a reason competent leakers never get caught. The only realistic method is working backwards from the point of the leak, not forwards along the distro of the information. In the UK, journalists have solid protections against revealing their sources, but moreover, if I were a leaker, I'd make sure the journalist doesn't know who I am either.

Short version is, though I won't go through how: any individual with moderate knowledge of computing, can copy and send a classified document (TS is harder though) to a journalist, using common and freely available software, in such a way that it's impossible to catch and prove it was them, even if the journalist was compelled.
 
Theoretically, yes. Practically, no. There will be email logs, network logs, and (since most of these login desktops are instanced) individual system logs. All of those will theoretically be remotely accessible and be able to show if the document was accessed. For the system logs, however, it's a time consuming process, and at OS my bet is that you would be looking at thousands of systems. Also this isn't on one network. It's on Z accounts, on X networks per Y departments. Z *X*Y=A

But what I guarantee you will find is then that some have, perfectly legitimately, saved the document onto a physical machine. This will be because they have to impex it across networks; because it's OS and they can, and they like to keep copies of some stuff; they transcribe it into other documents; and so on. You'll also find from the printer logs that hard copies have been printed off, and at OS are unaccounted for. Finally, on most Windows systems, there is no difference between "viewing" and "downloading" an email attachment. So you should really look at every physical machine where someone has even opened the document.

Worst of all, you'll find that a significant number of places cut and paste text from reports to put into their own reports. So you'll have to identify all of those reports (cut and paste logs are temporary on most machines, so this is a personnel interview process too), and return to Go to start the process again. Then possibly again if the same happened.

All of this is just to establish your A accounts with authorised access. You then have to do some investigation to check that 1 account = 1 person (never does). Multiply A by number of people on each account, and you get your authorised population, P. It usually depends on the organisational structure, but for DIPTELS my bet is that it could easily be in the tens of thousands, before you even worry about who might have had unauthorised access. The latter is a nightmare: paper copies read by family at home; photos taken on a phone; reading / photographing off a screen (there's a reason Google Glass was banned from secure areas).

Theoretically, for each of those P people, you then have to go through and look at their activity relating to the document, and investigate each one that might allow onwards dissemination, like printing or downloading it. For which, refer to what I said about Windows systems downloading email attachments above.

So let's say P =10,000
Average one initial investigation at 10 working hrs (way undershot, think about all the travel time to get to these locations, and forensics programs don't run fast)
=100,000 working hours
1 investigator working 240 days a year = 2,400 working hours.
So 42 trained digital forensic investigators working for a year just to get your initial set of suspects.

Also bear in mind that before you even start your year long initial investigation above (it's probably about 3 years, because you don't have that many investigators), since this has become a big thing, the leaker has already acted to cover up every trace they can think of.

Good luck with that.

As I said, there is a reason competent leakers never get caught. The only realistic method is working backwards from the point of the leak, not forwards along the distro of the information. In the UK, journalists have solid protections against revealing their sources, but moreover, if I were a leaker, I'd make sure the journalist doesn't know who I am either.

Short version is, though I won't go through how: any individual with moderate knowledge of computing, can copy and send a classified document (TS is harder though) to a journalist, using common and freely available software, in such a way that it's impossible to catch and prove it was them, even if the journalist was compelled.
Thanks - I would really like to see the guilty bastard identified, charged, found guilty etc etc, if only for the sake of everyone who does and has always done the right thing. Who has not read something and thought "ha, what the Daily Whatever make of that? I know I have. But we don't.
 
Dig out the Blackman thread (and the Bloody Sunday thread) and discover at your leisure how wrong you are.

Darroch was a very senior guy who made a serious professional error. Yes he wrote in the belief that the note was confidential but anyone in his position (and those more junior) must consider the possibility that what they write may see the light of day. It's more analogous to the Nick Cooke-Priest dismissal (again, another instance where Arrse generally took a dim view of the failure of leadership) than the alleged actions of junior soldiers under fire.
But if the Ambassador was writing a SECRET brief for Ministers then surely he has a reasonable expectation of it being treated as such, and kept secret for thirty years?

Theoretically, yes. Practically, no. There will be email logs, network logs, and (since most of these login desktops are instanced) individual system logs. All of those will theoretically be remotely accessible and be able to show if the document was accessed. For the system logs, however, it's a time consuming process, and at OS my bet is that you would be looking at thousands of systems. Also this isn't on one network. It's on Z accounts, on X networks per Y departments. Z *X*Y=A

But what I guarantee you will find is then that some have, perfectly legitimately, saved the document onto a physical machine. This will be because they have to impex it across networks; because it's OS and they can, and they like to keep copies of some stuff; they transcribe it into other documents; and so on. You'll also find from the printer logs that hard copies have been printed off, and at OS are unaccounted for. Finally, on most Windows systems, there is no difference between "viewing" and "downloading" an email attachment. So you should really look at every physical machine where someone has even opened the document.

Worst of all, you'll find that a significant number of places cut and paste text from reports to put into their own reports. So you'll have to identify all of those reports (cut and paste logs are temporary on most machines, so this is a personnel interview process too), and return to Go to start the process again. Then possibly again if the same happened.

All of this is just to establish your A accounts with authorised access. You then have to do some investigation to check that 1 account = 1 person (never does). Multiply A by number of people on each account, and you get your authorised population, P. It usually depends on the organisational structure, but for DIPTELS my bet is that it could easily be in the tens of thousands, before you even worry about who might have had unauthorised access. The latter is a nightmare: paper copies read by family at home; photos taken on a phone; reading / photographing off a screen (there's a reason Google Glass was banned from secure areas).

Theoretically, for each of those P people, you then have to go through and look at their activity relating to the document, and investigate each one that might allow onwards dissemination, like printing or downloading it. For which, refer to what I said about Windows systems downloading email attachments above.

So let's say P =10,000
Average one initial investigation at 10 working hrs (way undershot, think about all the travel time to get to these locations, and forensics programs don't run fast)
=100,000 working hours
1 investigator working 240 days a year = 2,400 working hours.
So 42 trained digital forensic investigators working for a year just to get your initial set of suspects.

Also bear in mind that before you even start your year long initial investigation above (it's probably about 3 years, because you don't have that many investigators), since this has become a big thing, the leaker has already acted to cover up every trace they can think of.

Good luck with that.

As I said, there is a reason competent leakers never get caught. The only realistic method is working backwards from the point of the leak, not forwards along the distro of the information. In the UK, journalists have solid protections against revealing their sources, but moreover, if I were a leaker, I'd make sure the journalist doesn't know who I am either.

Short version is, though I won't go through how: any individual with moderate knowledge of computing, can copy and send a classified document (TS is harder though) to a journalist, using common and freely available software, in such a way that it's impossible to catch and prove it was them, even if the journalist was compelled.
Why is it promulgated as a Word (or whatever) document? Surely it needs to be either printed and the individual copies accounted for, ir put on some sort of secure system to limit access to Ministers and senior officials?
 
Utter bollocks.

When Civil Servants start writing materiel with an eye to expected unauthorised and illegal public disclosure, then they are imposing self censorship. They have compromised their integrity, honesty and impartiality, broken the Civil Service Code,

In effect, they are bending the truth, and misinforming their masters, because they are frightened of someone leaking their work for short sighted political gain.

That way lies the madness of a totalitarian regime where no one dares tell those in power the true situation.

Darroch made NO professional error at all. You need to get that through your head. He did his job, and the serious professional error (and crime) was by whoever chose to leak it to the press.

If you think he should have to use Moscow rules to get his dispatches back home because he can't trust his own employers not to drop him in the crap as part of petty Party machinations, then you need to give your head a wobble.
Sorry but I think you're wrong there.

Such a senior and very experienced diplomat should have written his/her thoughts in much more diplomatic speech, knowing that whoever his target audience was would be able to interpret it in the way it was intended. Once a face to face meeting happened he/she could then express themselves more explicitly. Is that not diplomacy?

Darroch did indeed make an error, not by informing his superiors of his thoughts and understandings but in the manner he chose to express them, not very diplomatic at all.

You are however correct in that whoever leaked his report was the one who made a professional error and potentially a criminal act (yet to be proved as such).
 
Sorry but I think you're wrong there.

Such a senior and very experienced diplomat should have written his/her thoughts in much more diplomatic speech, knowing that whoever his target audience was would be able to interpret it in the way it was intended. Once a face to face meeting happened he/she could then express themselves more explicitly. Is that not diplomacy?

Darroch did indeed make an error, not by informing his superiors of his thoughts and understandings but in the manner he chose to express them, not very diplomatic at all.

You are however correct in that whoever leaked his report was the one who made a professional error and potentially a criminal act (yet to be proved as such).
Communicating with your "clients" (politicians, industry, press etc,) in carefully couched language is Diplomacy
Communicating with your superiors in carefully couched language is obfuscation.
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
Utter bollocks.

When Civil Servants start writing materiel with an eye to expected unauthorised and illegal public disclosure, then they are imposing self censorship. They have compromised their integrity, honesty and impartiality, broken the Civil Service Code,

In effect, they are bending the truth, and misinforming their masters, because they are frightened of someone leaking their work for short sighted political gain.

That way lies the madness of a totalitarian regime where no one dares tell those in power the true situation.

Darroch made NO professional error at all. You need to get that through your head. He did his job, and the serious professional error (and crime) was by whoever chose to leak it to the press.

If you think he should have to use Moscow rules to get his dispatches back home because he can't trust his own employers not to drop him in the crap as part of petty Party machinations, then you need to give your head a wobble.
You do understand that it is perfectly possible to write very accurate, comprehensible and prejudicial reports in such a way that you won't have to resign if the contents are made public and, further, that lots of people manage to do this quite successfully everyday without ushering in a political Dark Age?

"HectortheInspector moves rapidly to a conclusion, often with great passion, though the basis on which he does so is not always clear or obviously robust."
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Why is it promulgated as a Word (or whatever) document? Surely it needs to be either printed and the individual copies accounted for, ir put on some sort of secure system to limit access to Ministers and senior officials?
First, "some sort of secure system" is actually an incredibly difficult proposition. Digital data is not suited for security, for a whole host of reasons. It's easily and infinitely reproducible. Ultimately it's not a security problem, it's a centralisation problem: you can secure the data, but you have to run every request to use or view it through a single central authority. That simply isn't possible with the numbers of people and speed at which the modern world wants information. The degree of centralisation required to secure information also negates the value of that information.

Second, nobody wants to limit access to ministers and senior officials. This is a factor of the increasing volume and rate of information. While 100 years ago, you could limit distros to just top commanders, Ministers, senior officials or whoever, these days that doesn't work. There is too much of it and too fast. They need staffs to process the information, so those staffs have to be cleared to see it. Additionally, organisations are gradually realising that in 95% of cases, the value of information is increased by making it more widely available (this is an information asymmetry problem, read economic information theory to see more). In other words, most information problems are mutually beneficial (both sides having the information helps boths sides) rather than zero sum (one side only can gain by having the information). There are some zero sum information problems, but actually not that many.
 
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Sorry but I think you're wrong there.

Such a senior and very experienced diplomat should have written his/her thoughts in much more diplomatic speech, knowing that whoever his target audience was would be able to interpret it in the way it was intended. Once a face to face meeting happened he/she could then express themselves more explicitly. Is that not diplomacy?

Darroch did indeed make an error, not by informing his superiors of his thoughts and understandings but in the manner he chose to express them, not very diplomatic at all.

You are however correct in that whoever leaked his report was the one who made a professional error and potentially a criminal act (yet to be proved as such).
Repeating bollocks doesn't make it true. It is still bollocks.

Leaking protectively marked materiel to a journo who is not cleared to hold it, and without the figleaf of whistleblowing is a criminal act, a breach of the OSA 1989.
S5,(1) 2 and S5(5)

Fact. The question of finding and proving the culprit in Court is another matter. Your statement is simply wrong at all levels. If you say you believe that, you are a fool or a liar.

Diplomats are diplomatic TO OUTSIDERS. Their job is to put the Government's point of view to the host nation, smooth over hiccups, and represent their nations interests even if they know for instance that the host nation is run by a homicidal criminal.

They should not, indeed MUST not be "diplomatic" with the truth to their employers. That is an absolute failure on their part.

Repeating this bullshit shows that you are either wilfully wrong, or fundamentally mistaken as to what a diplomats job is.
I am going with option 1.
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
You do understand that it is perfectly possible to write very accurate, comprehensible and prejudicial reports in such a way that you won't have to resign if the contents are made public and, further, that lots of people manage to do this quite successfully everyday without ushering in a political Dark Age?

"HectortheInspector moves rapidly to a conclusion, often with great passion, though the basis on which he does so is not always clear or obviously robust."
Sorry, but that's breathtakingly un-self aware. Looking through ARRSE passim, you and a lot of other people seem to agree that the one of the main reasons for current political upheaval include: that the political class are chronically dishonest shamsters, weasel-word posturers and bluffers who've never had an opinion they can't wriggle out of in under a minute. The continual proof being that they never say what they mean. This isn't just limited to politicians: it means civil servants, Army officers, management consultants, lawyers, bankers, journalists ... basically everyone who makes public statements. A general opinion (again from ARRSE passim) seems to be that the antidote to this is more honest, straight talkers. That is clearly one of the appeals of Trump (the second bit at least).

I could go through the many posts I've written making this argument in many different ways that you've liked (which I presume means agreement), but it would be desperately boring.

To now turn around and say: "It's perfectly possible to dissemble your way through professional life without any negative consequences" is either high-grade amnesia or hypocrisy.

Sure, writing what you wrote above doesn't instantly invite lightning strikes. It's just one more weasel-worded brick building a world where nobody says what they mean, so nobody means what they say. I think that's a pretty good description of a political Dark Age.
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Diplomats are diplomatic TO OUTSIDERS. Their job is to put the Government's point of view to the host nation, smooth over hiccups, and represent their nations interests even if they know for instance that the host nation is run by a homicidal criminal. They should not, indeed MUST not be "diplomatic" with the truth to their employers. That is an absolute failure on their part.
@dun_n_dusted @FORMER_FYRDMAN

This really is Day 1 Week 1 of the FCO induction cadre. I'm suprised and appalled that two individuals of your experience and background do not know this.

A letter to the Telegraph will be forthcoming about declining standards among old people in Britain.
 
Repeating bollocks doesn't make it true. It is still bollocks.

Leaking protectively marked materiel to a journo who is not cleared to hold it, and without the figleaf of whistleblowing is a criminal act, a breach of the OSA 1989.
S5,(1) 2 and S5(5)

Fact. The question of finding and proving the culprit in Court is another matter. Your statement is simply wrong at all levels. If you say you believe that, you are a fool or a liar.

Diplomats are diplomatic TO OUTSIDERS. Their job is to put the Government's point of view to the host nation, smooth over hiccups, and represent their nations interests even if they know for instance that the host nation is run by a homicidal criminal.

They should not, indeed MUST not be "diplomatic" with the truth to their employers. That is an absolute failure on their part.

Repeating this bullshit shows that you are either wilfully wrong, or fundamentally mistaken as to what a diplomats job is.
I am going with option 1.
You may be able to read but I'm not sure you can comprehend. You've given part of a diplomats brief, but far from all.

In no instance have I said or suggested the ambassador should have been diplomatic with his perception of your truth, instead what I said was he should have couched it in a way more in keeping with his role then be less so if warranted when he met up with his target audience. That is part of his job whether you like it or not and his failure to observe it has come back to bite him.

Take them blinkers off, leave off the over agressive insults and you might then be able to read and comprehend something outside your core beliefs.
 
Darroch nailed his colours to the mast when Trump was elected.
He was a fanatical Clintonophile and snubbed Trump.
 
Sorry but I think you're wrong there.

Such a senior and very experienced diplomat should have written his/her thoughts in much more diplomatic speech, knowing that whoever his target audience was would be able to interpret it in the way it was intended. Once a face to face meeting happened he/she could then express themselves more explicitly. Is that not diplomacy?

Darroch did indeed make an error, not by informing his superiors of his thoughts and understandings but in the manner he chose to express them, not very diplomatic at all.

You are however correct in that whoever leaked his report was the one who made a professional error and potentially a criminal act (yet to be proved as such).
In previous posts I have provided actual examples of how very senior diplomats phrase these sorts of reports, including links to original copies now released to the public. They are clear, direct, unambiguous, and do not hesitate to point out any faults or failings of of the subjects in question. Go back and read them if you have any doubts.
 
@dun_n_dusted @FORMER_FYRDMAN

This really is Day 1 Week 1 of the FCO induction cadre. I'm suprised and appalled that two individuals of your experience and background do not know this.

A letter to the Telegraph will be forthcoming about declining standards among old people in Britain.
Excellent post in a thread that's not so.

My apologies to all, I'm having a Don Quixote moment, tilting at windmills with those windmills being those extremely blinkered in their view of BJ, the ambassador incident and diplomacy (something no-ones ever been able to accuse me of :) ), the Conservative Leadership shambles and Brexit.
 
Excellent post in a thread that's not so.

My apologies to all, I'm having a Don Quixote moment, tilting at windmills with those windmills being those extremely blinkered in their view of BJ, the ambassador incident and diplomacy (something no-ones ever been able to accuse me of :) ), the Conservative Leadership shambles and Brexit.
Windmills don't come into it.
You are just wrong.
Factually wrong.
Logically wrong.
Legally wrong.

People telling you this aren't blinkered.
They just aren't wrong.

You are.
 
In previous posts I have provided actual examples of how very senior diplomats phrase these sorts of reports, including links to original copies now released to the public. They are clear, direct, unambiguous, and do not hesitate to point out any faults or failings of of the subjects in question. Go back and read them if you have any doubts.
Post wikileaks, a more considered and nuanced approach is appropriate.
 

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