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Archive for April 2012

Travel Warning: Iran

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Consular Affairs issued a Travel Warning for Iran on April 27.  It reads as follows:

Iran

April 27, 2012

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens to carefully consider the risks of travel to Iran. Dual national Iranian-American citizens may encounter difficulty in departing Iran. U.S. citizens should stay current with media coverage of local events and carefully consider nonessential travel. This replaces the Travel Warning for Iran issued October 21, 2011 to add information regarding additional time needed for citizenship documents processed by the Swiss Protecting Power in Tehran, and the Department’s ability to assist U.S. citizens in an emergency. Read the rest of this entry »

Travel Warning: Cote d’Ivoire

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Consular Affairs issued a Travel Warning for Cote d’Ivoire on April 23.  It reads as follows:

Cote d’Ivoire

April 23, 2012

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Cote d’Ivoire. U.S. citizens who reside in or travel to Cote d’Ivoire should monitor conditions carefully, maintain situational awareness, and pay very close attention to their personal security. While the security situation has improved during the past several months, the potential for some civil unrest remains. Security conditions could change quickly and without warning. This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning of December 16, 2011 to inform U.S. citizens that the U.S. Embassy in Cote d’Ivoire has returned to “fully accompanied” status, and to provide an update on the current security situation.

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Travel Warning: Eritrea

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Consular Affairs issued a Travel Warning for Eritrea On April 18.  It reads as follows:

Eritrea

April 18, 2012

The U.S. Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Eritrea and strongly recommends U.S. citizens defer all travel to the country. This replaces the Travel Warning for Eritrea dated November 4, 2011, to update information on security incidents, including attacks near the border with Ethiopia, and to remind U.S. citizens of ongoing security concerns in Eritrea.

The Eritrean government continues to restrict the travel of all foreign nationals. These restrictions require all visitors and residents, including U.S. diplomats, to apply 10 days in advance for permission to travel outside Asmara’s city limits. Permission is rarely granted. As a result, the U.S. Embassy is extremely limited in its ability to provide emergency consular assistance outside of Asmara. Read the rest of this entry »

Travel Warning: Burundi

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Consular Affairs issued a Travel Warning for Burundi on April 18.  It reads as follows:

Burundi

April 18, 2012

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of traveling to Burundi. This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning for Burundi dated November 25, 2011 to reiterate existing security concerns and to note that security restrictions on travel for Embassy personnel remain in place.

Because Burundi participates in peacekeeping operations in Somalia, the terrorist organization al-Shabaab, based in Somalia, has threatened to conduct terror attacks in Burundi. It may also target U.S. interests in Burundi.

The Burundian civil war that lasted from 1993 to 2006 often involved non-governmental and non-combatant targets. In December 2008, the government and the last rebel group signed their final cease-fire agreement in which the rebel group agreed to demobilize and register as a political party. Burundi held general elections in 2010 which were generally considered credible. However, political tensions ran high and there were incidents of violence during the campaign period. Low-level political violence persists; the areas of Bujumbura Rural, Makamba, Rumonge, and the area neighboring the Kibira forest are of particular concern. Read the rest of this entry »

RQ: Private Sector

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This week, a reader asked,

I’m coming from the private sector.  What should I expect to be different from State?  The same?

While everyone has a different experience, I can share mine after coming from a brief stint in the private sector.  Keeping in mind that these are generalizations…

Differences:  State is a large bureaucracy, and things move slowly.  Painfully slowly, at times.  Most processes could be radically simplified but for whatever reason (regulations, accountability, turf battles) they usually aren’t.  Worrying about price is, despite what the news might say about the government cutting back spending, is not something that’s ingrained into the corporate culture.  Overseas you’ll not only be working with your colleagues, but in a lot of places you’ll be living right next door as well.  Security, both physical, information, and technical, are taken very seriously.  You will not be using the latest and greatest IT equipment, nor are you allowed to bring in your own or even install your own software.  Regulations always have the final word, but whether or not the regulation is met often depends on your ability to convince someone of their point of view.  Once you’re tenured you basically can’t get fired unless you really, really screw up.  People guard their turf jealously for whatever reason, and occasionally the attitude of “not my job” pervades the work environment.  There’s a very clear path in almost every skill code for promotion.  You get to travel and switch jobs every few years.

Similarities:  In general you’re surrounded by people who want to do the right thing.  Your coworkers and colleagues will be both good and bad.  Benefits and pay are pretty good.  If you choose well, your work will be interesting.  Excellent performance is rewarded, even though there’s a ton of chaff that makes it into the hopper as well.  E-mail storms and e-mail “oops”es still happen.  On short trips you get per diem. Your boss is still a toss up as to their competence and demeanor.  You still have performance reviews.

This was kind of an open-ended question, so feel free to disagree.  “Different in a good way” is how I’d summarize.

Be sure to check out past Reader Questions in the Archives.

Travel Warning: Niger

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Consular Affairs issued a Travel Warning for Niger on April 6, 2012.  It reads as follows:

Niger

April 06, 2012

The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Niger, and urges extreme caution due to increased kidnapping threats against Westerners. This replaces the Travel Warning for Niger dated August 5, 2011 to update information on security concerns.

Al-Qaida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), a terrorist group, continues its attempts to kidnap Westerners in Niger, including U.S. citizens, and has been successful in kidnapping Europeans in the region. On January 7, 2011, two French nationals were kidnapped in the capital city of Niamey. They were found dead less than 24 hours later following a rescue attempt by French and Nigerien military forces. In September 2010, seven people, including five French citizens, a Togolese national, and a Malagasy citizen, were kidnapped by AQIM from the northern mining town of Arlit. Four French citizens are still being held hostage by AQIM. In April 2010, a French citizen and his Algerian driver were kidnapped. The Algerian was freed. AQIM claimed to have killed the French citizen in retaliation for the July attempted rescue operation conducted by Mauritanian and French military forces. In November 2009, heavily armed individuals attempted to kidnap U.S. Embassy officials in Tahoua. Although there have been no kidnappings in Niger since January 2011, the Department of State Worldwide Caution dated January 24, 2012, reminds U.S. citizens to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness when traveling in the region. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by OSB

07/04/2012 at 01:44

Travel Warning: Kenya

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Consular Affairs issued a Travel Warning for Kenya on April 4.  It reads as follows:

Kenya

April 04, 2012

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Kenya. U.S. citizens in Kenya, and those considering travel to Kenya, should evaluate their personal security situation in light of continuing and recently heightened threats from terrorism and the high rate of violent crime in some areas. The levels of risk vary throughout the country. This replaces the Travel Warning of November 4, 2011, to update information about the current security situation, and the potential impact of the refugee influx.

The U.S. government continues to receive information about potential terrorist threats aimed at U.S., Western, and Kenyan interests in Kenya, particularly after the death of Osama Bin Laden. Terrorist acts can include suicide operations, bombings, kidnappings, attacks on civil aviation, and attacks on maritime vessels in or near Kenyan ports. Although there have been recent gains in the pursuit of those responsible for previous terrorist activities, many of those involved remain at large and continue to operate in the region. Travelers should consult the Worldwide Caution for further information and details. Read the rest of this entry »