Howard Gutman and others discuss the heightened security major U.S. cities are employing with New Years Day approaching:
In October of 2015, Howard Gutman spoke at the Brussels Sustainable Development Summit, where discussions on important world issues such as climate change, the environment and energy took place. To view Howard’s presentation, please see the video below:
As many of you know, towards the end of the wonderful Ambassadorship, there was a wrongful leak of a long-discredited allegation of misconduct (that Diplomatic Security had always labeled as “relatively minor,” but which bloggers and the uninformed then press blew up into a sensationalist story.) I served my full term, never had any problem at State (who knew the truth), and the facts had long shown the allegation to be wrong. So I was delighted that the Department of State has now issued an apology to me. As reported in The Nelson Report:
When good people get smeared by leaks, it is a rare sunny day when they are publicly exonerated. But with the release of the Office of the Inspector General report covering the wrongful leak 15 months ago of previously-discredited allegations of wrongdoing, the Department of State put out the following statement apologizing to former U.S. Ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman and others:
“The Inspector General’s report makes clear there was no wrongdoing and that the allegations wrongfully leaked from internal OIG documents were in fact unsubstantiated. It can’t erase the pain these leaks caused those public servants who were falsely accused, but it does vindicate them and puts an end to a painful chapter for many. Most importantly, the report concludes there is ‘no systemic problem’ in the Department’s investigations. The irresponsible leaks did not occur on the watch of this Inspector General, but we appreciate that he has brought this difficult story to a conclusion.”
Glad to put it even further to bed. For my Belgian friends, I would appreciate spreading the word about the State Department’s apology and statement above. And I will never forget the friendship and support during the tougher times.
For press coverage and more information regarding the State Department’s Apology, please visit the following links:
I was recently a guest on a leading Belgian television talk show, Reyers Laat. I think it was a good appearance (in English) as I received several congratulatory texts and emails the next morning, including from senior officials. It let me cover many topics, including the “spying” issue, and I was particularly glad finally to get to publicly discuss the nonsense at the end of the Ambassadorship. With people now (in hindsight) having fully realized for many reasons that it had no substance, including that State never had any problem and that I served my full term for two more months and represented the U.S. even at the invocation of the King, there seems now to be a pushback of support for the difficult time I received at the time from the press. Reyes Laat ends by calling me Ambassador for Life. I think you will enjoy the clip:
Some of my colleague ambassadors who also recently completed their service had planned a “reunion” cocktail party and dinner at the Fairmont Hotel in Washington DC for Friday eve 7 February. There were 11 couples in total. We all got called on Thursday asking us to come early on Friday, as we were told that the Secretary of Commerce (our friend Penny Pritzker) would come to the cocktail party. I had not seen Penny recently so Michelle and I made sure to arrive timely.
Michelle and I and the other 10 couples were at the cocktail party at the hotel when . . . President Obama walked in. Turns out, for security reasons, they could not tell anyone that the President was attending the cocktail party (or else they would have had to shut the hotel, put up metal detectors, etc.). The cocktail party was actually his opportunity to thank us individually for our service as ambassador. He spoke first to the group as a whole and then spoke to each of us individually to thank us, learn what we are doing now, and to chat.
A wonderful evening.
Howard Gutman was invited by Rabbi Levi Shemtov, the head of Friends of American Lubavitch, to attend the lighting of the National Menorah on the Mall. While at the ceremony, Howard had the opportunity to briefly meet the new Israeli Ambassador to the United States.
This same day Howard Gutman attended the annual Pilgrim Luncheon at The Palm with Senator Warner and Governor-elect McCauliffe.
Howard later went to Belgium where he attended an Exmar Board meeting. Exmar is a “diversified and independent shipping group serving the international gas and oil industry.”
Afterward, he flew to Hong Kong where he had meetings with Chinese businesses. Howard then attended a reception in Hong Kong on December 6th for Queen Mathilde of Belgium.
Howard Gutman will soon return to Belgium on December 21 to attend the wedding of Peter Van Rompuy, the son of our friend President Herman Van Rompuy, the President of the European Council (of Prime Ministers).