Rex Tillerson Spurns $80M Earmarked To Fight Russian Disinformation Campaigns, Funds To Expire Next Month

Politico reports:

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is resisting the pleas of State Department officials to spend nearly $80 million allocated by Congress for fighting terrorist propaganda and Russian disinformation.

It is highly unusual for a Cabinet secretary to turn down money for his department. But more than five months into his tenure, Tillerson has not issued a simple request for the money earmarked for the State Department’s Global Engagement Center, $60 million of which is now parked at the Pentagon. Another $19.8 million sits untouched at the State Department as Tillerson’s aides reject calls from career diplomats and members of Congress to put the money to work against America’s adversaries.

The $60 million will expire on Sept. 30 if not transferred to State by then, current and former State Department officials told POLITICO. The struggle over the money is a case study in Tillerson’s approach to managing the State Department and the frustration it is engendering among American diplomats.

  • Butch

    The “But I am not an alien” (spoken by an obvious alien) in the Mystery Science Theater 3000 movie comes to mind….

    • Tawreos

      Then I ram my ovapositor down your throat and lay my eggs in your stomach.

      • Butch

        Are you boys cooking up there? You’re not building an iteracetor, are you?

  • bkmn

    This must be giving Miss Lindsay the vapors – he is one of the few Repubes that still does not like Russia.

    • Todd20036

      still votes for it though

  • crewman

    Is the entire Trump administration working for Putin? There have to be Republicans who see this happening and don’t like it. They need to become more vocal and active. Or are they playing a game of, “Yes we know an outside country is manipulating our system, but they are electing Republicans so we’re going to pretend like we care but really do nothing.”

    • Todd20036

      The republicans are feckless cowards.
      They may despise Trump, but he’s a useful idiot who will do as he is told.

      • Kate

        I doubt he’ll do a damn thing he’s told to do by Republicans, but he’ll gladly use their base and it happens that at least some of their interests coincide so it still looks like a potential win-win for enough people that they’re afraid to rock the boat too much. Yet. If the equation continues to change the way it has been that could be revisited with extreme prejudice.

    • CottonBlimp

      If Republicans gave a shit about America, they wouldn’t be Republicans. It’s one thing when we’re talking about your everyday conservative voter, aka racist rubes misled and misinformed by propaganda, but Republican senators *know* shit like trickle-down doesn’t work but they vote for it anyway. The entire party is corrupt, and you won’t find patriotic Americans anywhere in it, because the whole fucking thing is just a cabal of thieves, and even the “moderates” are just thieves willing to steal just a tiny bit less so that the whole fucking system doesn’t collapse.

      The GOP doesn’t give a shit about Putin and won’t do anything about it, because whether a Republican president is robbing the country for the sake of Putin or Halliburton has no effect on their personal grift.

  • Jonathan Smith
    • Jay George
      • Gustav2

        Our HVAC just got fixed!

      • That_Looks_Delicious

        I made a pasta sauce the other day with sauteed onions, diced tomatoes and sherry and it turned out f-a-b-u-l-o-u-s.

        (The bad news is I was improvising as I went along, and I didn’t write down the recipe, so now I have to guess how to make it again.)

        • Jay George

          But the good news is you have to make it again and you will figure out how you made it so yummy. 🙂

    • another_steve

      Buddhists are the beloved children of we Philosophical Daoists.

      Sometimes things are easy and sometimes they are hard. Sometimes we are happy and sometimes we are sad.

      The Way of Things (the Dao).

  • Skokieguy [Larry]

    1). Trump administration’s proposed $37.6 billion budget for the State
    Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, a drop of
    about 30 percent.

    2). Under Tillerson’s watch, and indeed under his direct purview, the State Department’s core is being gutted. He is running Foggy Bottom the way a corporate raider might take over a company: firing half of its workforce, repurposing its original mission, scaling back its operations across the globe. Offices are being shuttered, while ambassadorial, assistant secretary, and undersecretary posts remain unfilled. Even as North Korea tests intercontinental
    ballistic missiles, there is no undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security, no permanent assistant secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs or International Security and Nonproliferation, no ambassador to South Korea. Browsing through the department’s webpage is a depressing affair: Blank spaces appear where headshots should be and the word “vacant” shows up more often than the names of current employees.

    • Nowhereman

      Will the last person at the State Department please turn out the lights?

      • JCF

        Just think: if I’d passed the Foreign Service Examp in 1984, I could be getting laid off now! O_o

        • Beagle

          Not if you retired first — and you’d likely be eligible by now.

    • Danieruw

      Thank goodness we got top “diplomat” Scott Brown confirmed as ambassador to strategically-located New Zealand! Now we can keep a close eye on Antarctica! /s
      (No offense intended to New Zealanders. And apologies for inflicting that piece of crap on your country.)

  • Jon Doh

    Does Rachel Maddow know about this?

    • lymis

      Joy Reid reported on it earlier this week, sitting in for Rachel, so, yes.

  • Tomcat

    Is anyone actually surprised he refuses money to fight Russian disinformation?

  • Outlaw Woman

    The right-wing conspiracy theorists are always complaining and warning about “The New World Order”, and “One World Government” that they claim progressive lefties are pushing.

    Can’t they see this is the end game of the Trump administration? At least a Russin-American world hegemony?

    • Ragnar Lothbrok

      CAN, but won’t

  • Skeptical_Inquirer

    Mueller needs to investigate Tillerson and Exxon. Is there any way there could be a boycott of all things Exxon? I already avoid them because brand names are expensive.

  • Do Something Nice

    He also threatened to exile president of Venezuela because of the jailing a two opponents. But he doesn’t say ANYTHING about the 14 protesters facing execution after bogus trials in Saudi Arabia, because, you know, they are our friends.

    • Bluto

      To be fair, SA has the best orbs.

  • Tawreos

    Very smart move, not taking money to fight Russian disinformation when the administration you work for is under investigation for colluding with the Russians to spread disinformation to help you win. Genius!

    • Karl Dubhe

      It’s not at all treacherous.

      Oh, wait.

  • another_steve

    I worked in the federal government for many years. It’s unheard of for a government agency to knowingly not draw upon congressionally-allocated funds.

    What they do if they don’t like the intended purpose of the allocation is find creative ways to divert the money elsewhere.

    • Tawreos

      That is what department heads do that want their agency to succeed. Success is not the goal of this administration they only want to destroy.

      • another_steve

        Excellent excellent point. One that’s often neglected in these discussions.

        Steve Bannon and Co. (the voices in Trump’s head) believe that government is the enemy and must be destroyed.

      • jerry

        Yes, State has been shedding its experience and institutional knowledge as fast as it can since Rexxon took over.

  • agcons

    Is he hoping it will be added instead to the pot that will fund the proposed tax cut?

  • Jeffg166

    Lock them all up.

  • Chucktech

    So, the emasculation of the State Department of the United States continues apace…

    • another_steve

      Kudos for “emasculation,” Chuck. An under-used word.

      I sometimes use it when describing myself, but that’s about the extent of my use of the word.

      • Jonathan Smith

        i tried to post my last here but missed.

  • Jonathan Smith

    Mrs. White: He was always a rather stupidly optimistic man. I mean, I’m afraid it came as a great shock to hime when he died, but, he was found dead at home. His head had been cut off, and so had his, uh… you *know*.

    • another_steve

      ^^ Cultural reference, please.

      • Jonathan Smith
        • another_steve

          Ohmigod I’m gettin’ close.


          Another hint.

          • Jonathan Smith
          • Jonathan Smith

            kids these days

          • another_steve

            Thank you for your patience, Jonathan. Dementia runs in my genetic line. Memory loss is often the first manifestation.

            I sorta gave up trying to keep culturally-current, in 1980 or so.

          • Jonathan Smith

            as long as i also get a crack a jerad when your done…..

          • That_Looks_Delicious

            Clue is an amazing movie. 32 years later, I still remember lines from it all the time.

            Eileen Brennan (Mrs. Peacock): You go first.
            Martin Mull (Col. Mustard): What are you afraid of – a fate worse than death?
            Eileen Brennan: No. Just death. Isn’t that bad enough?

  • Hank

    Well, if Tillerson does not want the money, lets toss it over to supporting Health Care!!! /s

  • Talisman

    The money will be transferred on Sept 29 and be fully “spent” on Sept 30.

  • Jerry Kott

    The Trojan Horse is already out of the Barn. How can anyone not expect this from this mole?

  • The_Wretched

    I’m just looking at that pic of Tillerson getting a medal from Putin. Imagine if Obama’s Sec. of State were getting a medal from Putin.

  • Travis Morrow

    Not gonna fight his real boss.

  • Jean-Marc in Canada

    But of course he spurned it. Can’t have his Master’s disinformation campaigns interrupted, what kind of servant would that make him….bad lap dog, sit, beg, play dead.

    • canoebum

      The Russkies might ask for their medal back.

  • Nowhereman

    Gee, so nice to have an administration that is not dragged down by conflicts of interest… (snark)
    Tillerson has to go. He is way too cozy with our enemies–Russia and the oil companies.

    • TampaDink

      Russia, the oil companies, & our other major enemy, trump.

  • Karl Dubhe

    Soft on Russia and terrorism?

    Well, that’s an interesting thing for a republican…

  • sword

    Tillerson will retire from the State Dept with a ‘black’ retirement package from Putin!

    • grada3784

      But he will have a special glow to his eyes.

  • billbear1961

    different times, different fanatics (or sellouts, as the case may be, today)

  • JCF

    I swear, I read that as “Funds to Empire Next Month” (as in Russian Empire!)

  • boatboy_srq

    Brilliant. Starve your international-relations-specific department of funds AND thwart investigations into foreign interference in the last federal election.

    I’d ask whether tRumpets actually believe other nations exist, but I’m afraid of the answer.

  • Nic Peterson

    It’s possible that Sec’y Rexxon mistook the 80mil for pocket change and dumped it in the ashtray of his car…