NEW YORK TIMES
May 6, 2011
To the Editor:
Re “Prisoner? No, Your Honor, I’d Rather Be a Diplomat” (news article, April 28):
You report that Vincent L. Leibell III, a former New York state senator who pleaded guilty in December to corruption charges and faces up to two years in prison, offered a tour of diplomatic service in the Middle East as an alternative to prison time, saying he would be “honored to serve on one of our civilian nation-building teams.”
He added, “I believe that I would be uniquely qualified if allowed to serve.” He also said his background in public service “would lend itself to our efforts at nation-building in the Middle East.”
Diplomatic service is not just about service abroad, it is also about promoting the image of the country and maintaining a certain decorum in state-to-state relations. Upon appointment, American diplomats receive a presidential commission that states that “reposing special trust and confidence in your Integrity, Prudence and Ability, I have nominated, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, do appoint you ...”
Mr. Leibell clearly lacks at least the first two of these qualities and would be well advised to serve at home because regrettably his credentials to represent his country abroad are tainted.
SUSAN R. JOHNSON
President, American Foreign Service Association
Washington, May 3, 2011
I would only add that he should serve at home IN JAIL.