Monday, November 29, 2010
Did Ambassador Tatiana Gfoeller “wear a wire” when she dined with the Duke of York?
by Larry Geller
According to a dispatch in the Wikileaks treasure trove, American Ambassador Tatiana Gfoeller attended a two-hour brunch to brief the Duke of York ahead of his meetings with the Kyrgyz Prime Minister. Much of the banter is actually quite amusing and a rare peek into the attitudes of the British royal family.
The meeting took place on October 28, 2008, according to this leaked diplomatic cable. She was, by her own report, the only American there:
The Ambassador was the only participant who was not a British subject or linked to the Commonwealth.
Yet she reported in minute detail who said what. Presumably she didn’t sit there taking notes in Gregg Shorthand.
Here’s a snip, by way of example:
In an astonishing display of candor in a public hotel where the brunch was taking place, all of the businessmen then chorused that nothing gets done in Kyrgyzstan if President Bakiyev’s son Maxim does not get “his cut.” Prince Andrew took up the topic with gusto, saying that he keeps hearing Maxim’s name “over and over again” whenever he discusses doing business in this country. Emboldened, one businessman said that doing business here is “like doing business in the Yukon” in the nineteenth century, i.e. only those willing to participate in local corrupt practices are able to make any money. His colleagues all heartily agreed, with one pointing out that “nothing ever changes here. Before all you heard was Akayev’s son’s name. Now it’s Bakiyev’s son’s name.” At this point the Duke of York laughed uproariously, saying that: “All of this sounds exactly like France.”
Aside from whether the French or the Kyrgyz will get a kick out of this depiction of their character, just how did Amb. Gfoeller manage to make this long and detailed report, which was sent out a mere day later?
It could have been done if she were “wearing a wire,” that is, secretly recording the conversation around the table. I doubt, if she put a recorder out in plain view, that the remarks she reports would have been uttered at all.
If the conversations were indeed surreptitiously recorded, that could be the end of confidential discussions with American diplomats.
And it would be their own fault.
Next time an American Ambassador has lunch with a foreign diplomat they will be required to go through a TSA screening. Never know where you might find a wire.
Imagine...what’s new here, sounds to me like the young Ambassador Tatiana Gfoeller attended a two-hour brunch to at her own expense, as sort of the butt of the jokes going round the table during the so called brunch. This sort of business chatter and innuendo can be heard at every business transaction in every third world county in the world...nothing new here, the shame of it all is that this American Ambassador had to resort to devious means to record her so called briefing with the Duke of York as a sort of I was there moment....it’s really Childes play.
Tatiana Gfoeller is a goddess. Beware diplomats, she'll eat your lunch. Seriously though, she's a brilliant, highly educated and competent diplomat. It must hell for her having to sit next to morons like HRH Andrew.