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Sat Mar 20, 2021, 02:40 PM

Korean-American Andy Kim was not allowed to work on Korean matters by US StateDep

Twitter thread from NJ Congressman Andy Kim. He is AMERICAN BORN, with top-secret security clearance, but he was forbidden by US State Dep from any work on Korea matters (even though he never requested assignment there). Which raises the question, are American Jews forbidden from work on Israel matters? Are Hispanic Americans forbidden from work on Mexico or South American issues? Or is this policy targeted solely against Asian American US employees? And how many generations later does this apply? If your family's been in the US since the 1800s, are you still considered a possible security risk with an Asian face?


I’ll never forget the feeling when I learned that my own government questioned my loyalty. Before Congress I worked in diplomacy at StateDept. I once received a letter banning me from working on Korea issues just because of my last name. I was stunned.

I had previously worked in Afghanistan for State. I had a top secret security clearance. But here was a letter saying we don’t trust you. What confused me more is that I didn’t even apply to work on Korea. The StateDept was proactively telling me they didn’t trust me.

And it wasn’t just me. I learned that other Asian Americans at State had same thing happen. It was called “assignment restrictions” - a bureaucratic way of saying “failing loyalty test.”

I thought to myself how I was born here in America. I don’t even speak Korean well at all. I have relatives in South Korea but I barely know them. I kept asking Why did my government not trust me?

I understand security concerns all over the world. I understand that I share a last name with a brutal dictator. That’s why I endured grueling clearance processes multiple times. But once I received a Top Secret clearance, why this letter?

I raised my concerns about this letter to more senior people at State and was advised by several to not make a fuss about it since I wasn’t actually interested in working on Korea. They missed the point. I wasn’t thinking of my career path, I was thinking of respect.

I started to feel like maybe I didn’t have a place in government. I started to think about quitting. Everyone keeps saying our diversity is our strength. That letter from StateDept said otherwise. How do I do foreign policy if my own government treats me like I’m foreign?

StateDept and our government as a whole needs to confront the lack of diversity in its ranks. We need a government that looks a lot more like the rest of America. And State is meant to be a place where we show rest of the world our diversity...

In 2018, I stepped up to run for Congress. Many people told me I had no chance to win this seat because it is over 80% White with less than 3% Asian. But I won’t let others define what I am or am not capable of accomplishing and what jobs I am allowed to do for my country.




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Arrow 19 replies Author Time Post
Reply Korean-American Andy Kim was not allowed to work on Korean matters by US StateDep (Original post)
mainer Mar 20 OP
CaliforniaPeggy Mar 20 #1
Hugh_Lebowski Mar 20 #2
wellst0nev0ter Mar 20 #5
Hugh_Lebowski Mar 20 #7
mainer Mar 20 #3
NCDem47 Mar 20 #4
crickets Mar 20 #6
OnDoutside Mar 20 #8
bucolic_frolic Mar 20 #9
Karadeniz Mar 20 #10
torius Mar 20 #13
moondust Mar 20 #11
erronis Mar 20 #16
moondust Mar 20 #19
Klaralven Mar 20 #12
patphil Mar 20 #14
torius Mar 20 #15
erronis Mar 20 #17
rickyhall Mar 20 #18

Response to mainer (Original post)

Sat Mar 20, 2021, 02:49 PM

1. I am horrified at Andy Kim's treatment by the State Department. HOW COULD THEY, AND WHY?

It makes no sense at all.

This needs to be pursued until there are answers.

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Response to mainer (Original post)

Sat Mar 20, 2021, 02:54 PM

2. Wow ... under which administration did this occur?

That seems pretty out of line of the State Department.

Particularly when South Korea is one of our strongest allies.

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Response to Hugh_Lebowski (Reply #2)

Sat Mar 20, 2021, 04:15 PM

5. He served under Obama

So that's disappointing.

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Response to wellst0nev0ter (Reply #5)

Sat Mar 20, 2021, 04:19 PM

7. I really hope not during Hillary's four years ...

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Response to mainer (Original post)

Sat Mar 20, 2021, 03:02 PM

3. Great twitter reply: "No white Americans should work on European matters"

if they want to be logical about this.

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Response to mainer (Original post)

Sat Mar 20, 2021, 03:19 PM

4. If this was under that former guy...

I can see that admin and Pompeo being suspect that he could feed N. Korea discussions to S. Korea. Which leads to the question...What would they not want our own allies to know they were cooking up with N. Korea?

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Response to mainer (Original post)

Sat Mar 20, 2021, 04:17 PM

6. What an awful, unfair thing to happen.

It's good to know that Andy Kim did not leave government service and did not give up on his run for Congress. Now that he's there, he will be able to help fix what is broken. Wonderful.




Andy Kim @AndyKimNJ
Replying to @AndyKimNJ
In 2019 I was sworn-in as the then only Korean American in Congress. Now I sit on Foreign Affairs Committee with oversight over StateDept. I will now demand that we fix this problem, working with @TedLieu and others. And we will press for more fixes across our Gov and nation(END)
[image]
10:35 AM · Mar 20, 2021

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Response to mainer (Original post)

Sat Mar 20, 2021, 04:23 PM

8. There should be an investigation into this and names exposed.

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Response to mainer (Original post)

Sat Mar 20, 2021, 04:56 PM

9. Well you saw how Obama wasn't allowed to name his 3rd Supreme Court Justice

So maybe it applies to all people not of white western European ancestry?

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Response to mainer (Original post)

Sat Mar 20, 2021, 04:58 PM

10. I'd be stunned if State prevented Jews from working on Israeli issues.

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Response to Karadeniz (Reply #10)

Sat Mar 20, 2021, 05:17 PM

13. Most American Jews

have ancestors from Eastern Europe, not Israel, in any non-super-ancient timeline.

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Response to mainer (Original post)

Sat Mar 20, 2021, 05:01 PM

11. Possibly the same fears

that led to Japanese internment during WWII. Fears that someone with a common heritage could become sympathetic to or just more easily drawn or coerced into the cause of the adversary. Without complete trust, overly cautious authorities might feel the need for occasional monitoring.

Of course a common heritage with sufficient language skills could also have potential as a mole.

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Response to moondust (Reply #11)

Sat Mar 20, 2021, 05:20 PM

16. Funny. We actually welcomed Germans into the US pre and post WW-II.

Some of their scientists that worked on rockets and bombs got good jobs (and citiizenship?) in the US.

I think it is deeper than nationality. It goes into the "not trusting someone who doesn't look like me."

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Response to erronis (Reply #16)

Sat Mar 20, 2021, 05:45 PM

19. Could be.

Some of the rules, regulations, and norms related to staffing government institutions may date back as far as bigots like J. Edgar Hoover, Strom Thurmond, Jesse Helms, etc.

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Response to mainer (Original post)

Sat Mar 20, 2021, 05:06 PM

12. The policy should apply uniformly to foreign-born Americans

No American born in country X and/or holding country X citizenship should be allowed to work on matters affecting country X.

That should be universally and equally applied, e.g. no Estonian born Americans or Americans holding both US and Estonian citizenship should work on Baltic or Russian matters.

On the other hand, it should not apply to US born citizens holding only US citizenship.

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Response to mainer (Original post)

Sat Mar 20, 2021, 05:17 PM

14. Andy won by only a couple thousand votes in 2018; won by almost 8% in 2020.

Korean name seems to be unimportant to his constituents...as it should be.

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Response to mainer (Original post)

Sat Mar 20, 2021, 05:20 PM

15. Pure racism

ridiculous and shameful. EEOC complaint/lawsuit material.

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Response to mainer (Original post)

Sat Mar 20, 2021, 05:23 PM

17. Andy Kim was shown helping clean up the Capitol after the thugs trashed it.

I would have substituted "insurrectionists" for "thugs" but the space didn't allow it.

https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/08/us/congressman-capitol-trash-trnd/index.html

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Response to mainer (Original post)

Sat Mar 20, 2021, 05:41 PM

18. I guess I can't work on Irish, Scot, English, German or Swedish matters. Oh, well.

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