Obama accepts Ambassador Kmiec's resignation

President Barack Obama has accepted the resignation of his ally Douglas Kmiec as ambassador to Malta.

Prof Kmiec submitted his resignation late last week after a report by the State Department's Office of the Inspector General which rapped him for spending too much time writing and speaking about his Catholic beliefs rather than embassy business. His outside activities, the inspector said, had "detracted from his attention to core mission goals” at the embassy.

In his letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Prof Kmiec hit out at State Department officials. He told Mrs Clinton:

“An unfortunate OIG report published last week claims that high standard unmet on the unsupported speculation that someone doing as much writing as I have done could not have also been devoted to the embassy mission. The contrary proof, Madame Secretary, is in the strength of our embassy. Our work is careful, thorough, and timely, and I am fully apprised of all of it, and of course, fully supported by men and women of great dedication and ability.

He added:

“My actions have been confined to the ministerial. You deserve better, but until these rigid, and rigidly narrow, perspectives are overcome, you and the President are being deprived of the intelligent insight of much of your Embassy’s work.”

He is reported to have suggested in his resignation letter that the Inspector General’s criticism of his work was payback for a 1989 position he took while working the Office of Legal Counsel, in which he argued the IG’s work must be limited to investigating waste, fraud, and abuse.

“That opinion stung the OIG and I suspect I have just experienced a “sting-back,” he wrote.

Kmiec is due to leave office on August 15,  “on the feast of the Assumption, 2011.”

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