Missing laptop causes US State Dept shake-up

Sackings, resignations - hell, maybe even defections

The US State Department's Assistant Secretary for Intelligence, Stapleton Roy, resigned his post this week after US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright suspended three staffers over a lost-laptop fiasco in which sensitive information went missing from Department Headquarters in Washington nearly a year ago.

Albright went over the top this week by suspending Roy's deputy, Donald Keyser, for thirty days without pay over the incident. This, apparently, was too much for Keyser's boss and friend, Roy, to endure.

Back in March the Iron Lady had vowed that heads would roll when the incident first became public. She immediately took steps to shift security responsibilities from Roy's intelligence division to the security division, which sounds like the sort of crew that ought to have been in charge of it in the first place.

"The secretary of state decided to pursue her crusade against what she deems to be weak security inside the State Department," former US Ambassador to Pakistan Robert Oakley is quoted by the Washington Post as saying. "Roy says it is unjustified and said, 'If you've lost confidence in my deputy, then you've lost confidence in me.'"

The resignation is of course entirely symbolic, as Roy is scheduled to retire in January, and Albright (perhaps to the relief of the rest of the world) is on her way out the door as well. ®

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