At the State Department this week, former congresswoman Ellen Tauscher was sworn in as undersecretary of state for arms control and international security. Though the ceremony was held in the elegant Ben Franklin room overlooking the Potomac, Tauscher’s new offices, notes Foreign Policy, are not exactly elegantly appointed. In fact, the new digs are downright squalid, according to Tauscher staffers:
The grandeur of the swearing-in ceremony’s setting was a far cry from the state of neglect Tauscher’s staff found when they went to check out her new seventh floor “T” bureau digs early last month while she was on her honeymoon. “When I walked over here July 3, I was flabbergasted,” one aide said. “I [was] calling Ellen: it was disgusting, run down, dark and dingy, in total neglect.” The office’s condition “is symbolic of how arms control had been treated the past eight years,” the aide said. Moldy maroon carpeting was replaced with crisp blue, and moods improved.
John Bolton, the former U.N. ambassador now at the American Enterprise Institute, held Tauscher’s post at State in the Bush administration from 2001 to 2005. Surely he’s not to blame for the shabby conditions at his old haunt. As he tells NRO, “I never thought interior decoration was a high nonproliferation priority. New rugs must be what the Obama administration means by ‘smart power.’”