knows how to work a room. Last night, he volleyed with a fairly tough audience during
an event on Afghanistan at the Council on Foreign Relations.
One noteworthy part of the event was when Holbrooke, to the
clear chagrin of moderator Michael
Gordon, drained almost 10 minutes off of the clock by having 17 separate members
of his office staff each stand and give personal introductions.
"I've never seen someone eat up time like that. He's the
master," said one attendee.
Now, maybe Holbrooke was just trying to get his staffers some
much-deserved recognition and demonstrate (at length) the different issues his
office has to deal with. We'll give him the benefit of the doubt and help him
achieve that goal. Here are the staffers who rose to the occasion, in order of
(DOD) - "I work on the issues of the defense advisor and on the very difficult
issue of communications."
(Treasury) - "I'm working on illicit finance issues, both by disrupting illicit
finance flows and by creating an environment not conducive to illicit
financing in Afghanistan and Pakistan."
Vali Nasr (Tufts)
- "I'm a senior advisor to Ambassador Holbrooke on Pakistan issues."
(Ag) - "I'm the senior advisor for Agriculture from the U.S. Department of
Agriculture. We're focusing on working with USAID and the U.S. military on
improving agriculture sector jobs and incomes, and improving Afghans'
confidence in their government, particularly their ministry of agriculture."
Dan Feldman (NSN)
- "I'm one of two deputies to Ambassador Holbrooke. Among other things, I help
to coordinate a small team focusing just on international engagement and diplomatic
initiatives, in part to help make donor coordination work. I also help to
oversee detainee, human rights, and other issues."
(USAID) - "I work on development and assistance issue in Afghanistan and
Rina Amiri (U.N.)
- "I'm senior advisor on Afghanistan and my primary area of focus is the
political developments in Afghanistan."
(State) - "I work on deploying the civilians that are going to the increase in
(Perseus) - "I do his trips to the region and I also work on communications
issues, as well as our new mobile products that we are introducing, with the
mobile banking, mobile payments to the police, telemedicine, and our SMS
program in Afghanistan and Pakistan."
(State) "I focus on governance ... We're trying to help the Afghan government
become more visible and more accountable and responsive to the needs
particularly of the subnational groups."
(At this point, Gordon tries to cut off the roll call to get
to audience questions but Holbrooke insists, "Let them finish."
Tim List (DHS) -
"Mainly I work on border management, cross-border, and customs issues."
(Heinz) - "I'm the chief of staff. I do whatever needs to be done."
(FBI) - "I'm the police advisor."
(DOJ) - "Working on rule of law, corruption, and other related issues."
Lt. Col. Brian Lamson
(JCS) - "I work security issues."
Mary Beth Goodman
(State) - "Covering economic and energy issues for Afghanistan and Pakistan."
(State) - "Deputy to Ambassador Holbrooke and deputy assistant secretary of state
for Afghanistan and Pakistan."
"I think that was well worth doing," said Gordon. "And now
we're going to try to squeeze in a few questions."
It appears that Holbrooke has used this tactic before.
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