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UN Tells ICP It's Fine With Feltman Communication With US On "Other System"

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 5 -- With Jeffrey Feltman on his way about Ukraine to Moscow and then Kyiv, Inner City Press on April 30 reported and in May asked about Feltman communicating with US officials on an "other system," transcript here, video here and embedded below:

Inner City Press: there was a high-profile Freedom of Information Act response of documents by the US State Department about the Benghazi incidents, and although obviously thatís something to be looked at by Congress, one of the documents released was an e-mail from Jeffrey Feltman at his UN e-mail address to Salman Ahmed, then an adviser to Susan Rice, saying ďthank you for your note on the other systemĒ. And I just wanted to know, because of the issues that came up because of the leak of the Victoria Nuland one, saying, ďweíve spoken to Jeff," which seems clearly it was Jeff Feltman, I wanted to know, is there some other system by which, in this case a former US official, Jeffrey Feltman, communicates with the US Government?

Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq: Thereís any number of reasons why Jeffrey Feltman, as the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, would communicate with the United States Government. Thatís one of the Governments that we deal with.

Inner City Press: Sure, Iím not at all disputing the idea, and this was actually about the death in Benghazi, so Iím not at all disputing the fact of the communication. Iím saying that this line ó "thank you for your note on the other system" ó Iím specifically asking about the words ďon the other system" --

Deputy Spokesman Haq: Matthew, I donít see why I would analyse this precise wording of an email.

Inner City Press: You donít see the issue that it raises? Doesnít it ring a bell?

Deputy Spokesman: As far as Iím aware, all these e-mails are being looked at by other authorities, and weíll let them do that.

Inner City Press: Right, but Iím asking a UN question. They are not looking at it for the propriety of a UN official having another communication system with his or her own Government. Thatís not what they are looking at; Iím asking you about that.

Deputy Spokesman: Jeffrey Feltman is an international civil servant working for the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Thereís never been any dispute about that and I donít believe that thereís any conjecture even from the US Government people looking into these e-mails that there is such an issue raised by this e-mail that youíre talking about. Heís perfectly free to deal with US officials and people at the US Mission. He has to communicate with people from all the various missions, including, of course, the missions of our permanent Security Council members.

Inner City Press: Right, but in a separate system. Thatís what Iím asking. Iím specifically pointing at that word --

Deputy Spokesman: I think youíre interpreting the wording in a way that may not necessarily be supported by what it means.

Inner City Press: What does it mean?

Deputy Spokesman Haq: I have no idea what it means. Iím not privy to what the wording is, but neither do you. Youíre playing detective over a random series of words and trying to impute meaning to it.

Inner City Press: Iím saying it raises a question about UN practice so Iím asking you. I thought thatís what we do here.

Deputy Spokesman: Like I said, thereís no doubt, certainly from the Secretary-Generalís perspective, that Jeffrey Feltman is continuing faithfully as an international civil servant.

 Of this recent Freedom of Information Act disclosure by the US State Department, many have argued that there is no smoking gun, there is nothing new. Focusing on the UN, Inner City Press found something new, though perhaps already known or suspected by some.

  Former US official Jeffrey Feltman, now head of the UN Department of Political Affairs, wrote from his UN.org email account to then Susan Rice-staffer Salman Ahmed on September 12, 2012 saying "thank you for your note on the other system." (The topic was Benghazi and Chris Stevens, may he and his colleagues rest in peace.)

  The UN question raised, as it was by the leaked audio of Victoria Nuland telling US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoff Pyatt that Feltman got UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to send Robert Serry to Ukraine, is in how close contact Feltman remains with US officials -- and HOW, on what "other system"?

  Here is the document, click here.

  Does this mean, other e-mail system? As simple as Gmail or more secure?

  When Inner City Press asked the UN about the Nuland audio, Ban's deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq tried to claim the Nuland wasn't referring telling Geoff Pyatt about Jeff Feltman but rather some third, still undisclosed Jeff (or Geoff).

  Now Feltman is on his way to Ukraine again, after a formal stop in Cyprus -- about which Inner City Press previously asked the UN without confirmation until today. Feltman is a genial individual but these questions must be asked, and the UN should answer them.

  How will the UN now explain Feltman and the US Mission's "other system"? Watch this site.


 

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