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 Mark Van Scyoc /

June 14, 2019 (C-Fam) — A recent article from the Reuters news service highlights an ongoing problem of career State Department personnel leaking what they hope will be information harmful to the “reproductive health” position of the Trump Administration.

Among other things, the Reuters article highlighted what abortion advocates see as the outsized influence of C-Fam (publisher of the Friday Fax) in the negotiating positions taken by the Trump Administration at the United Nations.

The article directly quoted an email from State Department personnel to C-Fam about the specifics of a negotiation then ongoing at the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

The 2018 email quoted by Reuters came from an aide to then U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley thanking C-Fam for “having sent proposed changes” to a draft document of the Commission on the Status of Women. “We reviewed them all carefully and included many, many of them in our initial comments,” said the email.

This was in response to an email C-Fam sent to two State Department personnel including a disgruntled former USUN employee, Laurie Phipps, now working as an adjunct professor at Fairleigh Dickenson University.

Suspicion of the leak focuses on Phipps because of her overt hostility to the pro-life position from the beginning of the Trump administration. The leaking started early just as soon as the U.S. policy on “reproductive health” began to change.

In March 2018 two staff members at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations spoke anonymously to The Independent where they complained bitterly that a fellow U.S. negotiator, a political appointee, allegedly said the “U.S. is a pro-life nation.” One of the anonymous leakers said the statement was “shocking.” Laurie Phipps was deeply involved as a U.S. negotiator at that time and is suspected to be the leaker.

Phipps made public her opposition to the Trump pro-life negotiating position in a Foreign Policy article in March of this year. The article claims that Phipps was “appalled” by the pro-life U.S. position and decided to move up her scheduled May retirement.

Phipps told Foreign Policy, “The White House changed our instructions at the eleventh hour, informing us the morning of the last day that we could no longer accept language about sexual reproductive health that we had agreed to a month before at the Commission on the Status of Women. This change in our position left the U.S. looking as though we had negotiated in bad faith.” She said she “could not stomach the idea of negotiating in bad faith” though it is likely she simply opposed the results of the last presidential election and the resulting change in policy position.

Phipps also went on the record on the leftwing Guardian website in May where she complained about the influence of C-Fam on UN negotiations. She said, “When we got into negotiations, my instructions from Washington were verbatim taken from C-Fam, and [a negotiator from USAID] had the same talking points.”

The difference between talking to the press, which Phipps has openly done, and leaking State Department emails is likely a question of legality. Though the emails are marked “unclassified,” they nonetheless belong to the State Department and it is clear that Phipps had no approval to share them.

Phipps has refused to respond to repeated attempts to question her about the leaked email.

Published with permission from C-Fam.


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