WASHINGTON (CBS News) — While Rex Tillerson is on his first overseas trip as Secretary of State, his aides laid off staff at the State Department on Thursday.
Much of seventh-floor staff, who work for the Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources and the Counselor offices, were told today that their services were no longer needed.
These staffers in particular are often the conduit between the secretary’s office to the country bureaus, where the regional expertise is centered. Inside the State Department, some officials fear that this is a politically-minded purge that cuts out much-needed expertise from the policy-making, rather than simply reorganizing the bureaucracy.
There are clear signals being sent that many key foreign policy portfolios will be controlled directly by the White House, rather than through the professional diplomats.
Not a single State Department official was included in the White House meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this week. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner – who has no regional expertise or diplomatic experience – had a greater role in the meeting than the Senate-confirmed secretary of State.