Tales from the Trail

The complicated question of Haiti’s orphans

January 20, 2010

HAITIThe devastation caused by Haiti’s earthquake has extended to some of its youngest and most powerless victims: orphans awaiting clearance to join adoptive families in the United States.

FBI gives Osama bin Laden shave and a haircut

January 14, 2010

UPDATE: After the aged Osama bin Laden photos were posted on U.S. government websites, a Spanish politician said his photograph was used to compose one of the images and he was considering taking legal action. Read about the latest twist here.

Smart power meets smart phones

December 17, 2009

The State Department is accelerating its push into the Internet, hoping to use web sites, blogs and mobile phones to deliver the U.S. message around the world.

Off hours, Diplomat families teach swimming in Baghdad, Battle of the Bulge

December 8, 2009

If you wondered what U.S. diplomats and their families do in their spare time in the exotic, less exotic and sometimes really difficult places where they live, here’s a partial answer.

Ghosts of Christmas past haunt State Department

December 8, 2009

Ghosts of Christmas past are hovering in the halls of Foggy Bottom this week.

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was among those who materialized at the State Department on Monday for the unveiling of the official portrait of former Secretary of State Colin Powell, a swank affair that also drew former German and Russian foreign ministers, former network anchors and a former White House chief of staff (not to mention a former First Lady in the person of current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton). USA/

Powell’s official portrait as secretary of state unveiled

December 8, 2009

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton unveiled the official portrait of former Secretary of State Colin Powell on Monday, noting there were few Americans as admired and celebrated.

Obama bow “sign of respect” for Japan Emperor

November 16, 2009

President Obama has bowed his way into controversy yet again.

Pictures of the U.S. president bowing deeply to Japanese Emperor Akihito during a state visit to Japan have incensed some commentators, who say the U.S. head of state should not lower his head before foreign crowned heads. OBAMA-JAPAN/

Another Iran mystery, foreign minister visits D.C.

September 30, 2009

A visit by Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki to Washington, D.C., on the eve of the big talks in Geneva has our antennae twitching.

Group accuses U.S. Kabul embassy guards of misconduct

September 2, 2009

Nearly naked, drunken guys dancing around a bonfire and engaging in lewd conduct. And there are pictures and videos. No it’s not a frat party gone wild.  It’s downtime for some private security contractors hired to protect the U.S. embassy in Kabul,  according to the nonpartisan Project on Government Oversight.

U.S.: Chavez comments par for the course

August 12, 2009

He’s driven Exxon out of his country and suggested former U.S. President George W. Bush was the devil incarnate.