Foggy Bottom House-Elf Wants His Own Personalized Stationery

Wait, there’s a house-elf in Foggy Bottom who wants an office on the seventh floor, some new furniture to go with it, and his own personalized stationery? And all before the new master gets here?



Foreign Ministry Warns of Secret Messages Embedded in Diplomatic Cables



FOGGIEST BOTTOM, WASHDC — Senior advisers to Foreign Minister H. Hamilton Hunter IV also fondly known as FM Hawwy warned internally of embedded messages in diplomatic cables as a potential for end-of-year embarrassment.  A message sent out recently instructs principal and approving officers to closely review any draft cables, memos, and messages for hidden messages, acrostics, or double acrostics.

Officials are reminded afresh that an envoy published a resignation letter in which the word “IMPEACH” was spelled out by the first letters of each paragraph, and that an arts council also released a mass resignation letter where the first letter of each paragraph spelled out “RESIST.” The same message warned of the potential use of the words idiotincompetent, out of touch, or clown. One post where the chief of mission is often away on vacation was reportedly reminded of his/her accountability for all messages under his/her name even when he/she is horseback riding or going on an official adventure.

 S et among hills in the midst of  five valley S,
 T his peaceful little   market town we inhabi T
 R efuses  (vociferously!) to  be  a  conforme R.
 O nce home  of  the cloth  it gave its name t O,
 U phill and down again its  streets  lead  yo U.
 D espite its faults it leaves  us all  charme D.

Approving officials are warned to be mindful of 1) alphabetical acrostic – a relatively simple acrostic that may merely spell out the letters of the alphabet in order; and 2) acrostic ciphers (or null ciphers) where the first letter of each word is used to form a hidden message in an otherwise innocuous text.

Some examples for consideration were provided as follows (via):

‘It is with mixed feelings that I announce the retirement of Mr Roger Clark at the end of this term. ‘We all now know every really great teacher has to finish one day and Mr Clark will do so at the end of this term.’

Mr. Clark, a teacher of English and French, spotted that the first letter of the first six words of the second sentence spelled out a rather uncomplimentary term. See Headmaster’s hidden insult gives teacher the last laugh.

An example containing null ciphers (via):

News Eight Weather: Tonight increasing snow. Unexpected precipitation smothers eastern towns. Be extremely cautious and use snowtires especially heading east. The [highway is not] knowingly slippery. Highway evacuation is suspected. Police report emergency situations in downtown ending near Tuesday.

Taking the first letter in each word successively yields the real message: “Newt is upset because he thinks he is President.”

It is not clear to this reporter what prompted the warning cable to diplomatic outposts. One source suggests that senior advisers may be concerned that a hidden message will be included in end-of-year reporting cables and happy greetings.


Pizza Rat in Foggiest Bottom Prompts Changes at the Executive Secretariat



FOGGIEST BOTTOM, WASHDC — The Foreign Ministry announced changes to the Executive Secretariat late Friday night. Effective August 1, the Foreign Minister via his Chief of Staff, announced the appointment of the Chief of Staff to the Augmented Chief of Staff (A-CoS) office. Note that the announcement also requires that every reference to the new A-CoS in reports and memos should be in bold, Times Roman, point 14 font.

For the first time in 70 years, the Executive Secretariat will be subsumed by the A-CoS, a new entity with authority, not just to coordinate internal work but authority to direct and initiate major smile initiatives on behalf of the Foreign Minister.  The personnel portfolio was quietly added to the A-CoS before the announcement was made and includes the hiring and firing of the lowest grade at the Ministry’s cafeteria.  The expanded function was reportedly necessitated by the perceived lack of dedication on the part of all employees, but particularly security and cafeteria employees in catching the notorious Pizza Rat. The famous rodent of the New York City subway has reportedly been sighted in the Foggiest Bottom, and is presently considered at large and dangerous.

“The mere fact that Pizza Rat continues to evade us is proof that we have not given the best of ourselves to this job,” the A-Chief of Staff told employees. “If we can’t handle the simple job of catching Pizza Rat, we have not given the best of ourselves to this job,” she repeated, speaking on F-NET. “It is the greatest honor of my life to served as your Augmented Chief of Staff,” the A-CoS said, blinking away tears on camera. “Now, go get Pizza Rat. I mean, the Minister wants you to give it your best, and get Pizza Rat,” she ordered, straightening her hunched back.  “But  don’t see me until it’s done, or I’ll freeze all hiring and transfers,” she warned.

Foreign Ministry Splurges on Vintage Cowboy Art to Redecorate Building



FOGGIEST BOTTOM, WASHDC —After weeks of harsh criticisms on the removal of historical photographs and painting adorning the hallways of the Foreign Ministry, Foreign Minister H. Hamilton Hunter IV also fondly known as FM Hawwy on Sunday unveiled his redecorated office with a reception for the diplomatic corps and members of the press.

The photographs of white, old men were carted off to the warehouse and replaced with colorful artwork and posters of the Republic of Z’s purple mountain majesty, and cowboys.

The Foreign Minister’s strategic adviser told the press that cowboys are the minister’s favorite people, and it makes perfect sense to redecorate the building with the minister’s favorite scenes and artwork to remind him of home.

“He thinks like a cowboy,” said the minister’s strategic adviser.

“You carry a revolver with only six shots, and you don’t waste your bullets.”

According to the minister’s strategic adviser, the building’s entire top floor has cowboy art to remind Minister Hawwy that he thinks like a cowboy and that he should never waste his bullets. The advisor explained that this is not because bullets cost money, but that even when you can afford them, you may not always have a store open when you need them.

The reception ended with gunfire and fireworks. Meanwhile, guests went home with rugged cowboy cutouts, and blank bullets in their goody bags.

Reading The Wicked Wasabi may result in occasional fun or indigestion.
It is not intended for readers over 18 years of age
without a fully developed sense of humor.

Senior Official Talks About Promoting Freedom of Expression (Warning: Strong Language)



FOGGIEST BOTTOM, WASHDC — The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) launched its 6th annual “Free the Press” campaign today as part of its effort to mark the importance of a free press and independent media.  The campaign was supposed to launch in the lead up to World Press Freedom Day on May 3 but since the top offices were empty, there was no one authorized to grant clearance for the campaign.  A senior advisor (SA#A) to the Foreign Minister speaking on background admitted to TWW that the campaign was actually approved for roll out by Foreign Minister Hawwy but that Senior Advisor #B “seriously botched” the roll out.  Senior Advisor #A offered this reporter an opportunity to ask questions with a Very Senior Ministry Official (VSMO) to compensate for the “Free the Press” campaign fail at the Press Office. Below is part of our on-the-record conversation with the official who would only speak to us if he is on camera, in disguise

Q: Does the Foreign Minister believe that the press is the enemy of the people?

VSMO:  We honor the courage and service of journalists. We call on governments to protect the right to freedom of expression; and we emphasize our own commitment to promoting freedom of expression here in the Republic of Z and around the world.

Q: Let me put it another way. Does this building believe that the press is the enemy of the people?

VSMO: Journalists are being silenced around the world. How can they be the enemy of the people?  I ask you, how can that be, huh … how can they be the enemy of the people? You tell me.

Q: Well, okay let’s move on. What about the conviction of a non-violent protester for laughing out loud during a congressional hearing?

VSMO: What about it?

Q: Don’t you think that’s an outrageous development in this country?

VSMO: Well, look, we have rules. We didn’t say no laughter. Just laugh at the appropriate time and place, then no problem. He-he-he!

Q: The Deputy Foreign Minister just took office last week. I’m curious if he has brought in his own chief of staff.

VSMO:  Sorry but I can’t say.

Q: But why … I don’t understand. That’s not a secret, is it?

VSMO: <whisper> I’m not allowed to say why. I’m not allowed to say why. I’m not allowed to say why.<whisper> OK. Let’s move on.

VSMO: So, what else do you want to ask me?

Q: Yeah, what happened to the Foreign Minister’s shuttle diplomacy?

VSMO: Oh, it went pretty well, pretty well. There was no biting.  And the parties did not, and are not shooting at each other. So that’s a solid demonstration of the foreign minister’s adept handling of a really bad situation.  Considering that we sold billions of weapons to all parties, it could have been worser. Really worser. Believe me. The fact that they are still talking is a sign that diplomacy, when handled by a gifted professional can work every fcking time, and every fcking where!

Q: But what did he actually do?

VSMO: That I can’t tell you because it’s classified.

Q: Any chance that the press would be allowed to accompany the Foreign Minister’s next trip overseas?

VSMO: We’ll have to see …. we’ll have to see … you know that space is tight in those submarines.

Q: But … never mind.  So, can you definitely say when the Ministry’s Daily Press Briefing will be “daily” again?

VSMO:  It’s called the Daily Press Briefing, period!  We like the way it sounds.  And you know what? It will stay that way. Just because we’re doing the press briefing a couple days a week now is not a reason to change its name. And how come you’re not on complaining that ‘The Daily Show with Noah Trevor’ is called the “daily show” when it only runs from Monday through Thursday? What is that if not media bias, huh?

Q: But if the Daily Press Briefing is no longer daily, then …

VSMO:  This. Is. What. Is. Wrong. With. The. Press. Every. Fcking. Time. I’m giving you information and you’re being uncooperative. I had to cancel my kettlebell class just so I could talk to you. Jeez. This is the last time this yahoo will get to ask me questions .

Oookay. So, what I want you to understand is that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs continue to highlight the emblematic threats to journalists while we call on all governments to protect the universal human right to freedom of expression. We’re late in this year’s campaign but that doesn’t mean we don’t care. In too many places, reporters are considered enemies of the state, cursed, blocked, imprisoned, attacked, intimidated, disappeared, exiled or murdered for trying to report the news or exercise their freedom of expression. We find this totally unacceptable.  And we’re done here.

Reading The Wicked Wasabi may result in occasional fun or indigestion.
It is not intended for readers over 18 years of age
without a fully developed sense of humor.

An Interview With FSO Anxious to Help the Bidding Tool Designers



FOGGIEST BOTTOM, WASHDZ — As previously announced, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) anticipates that SmarterMatch will replace the Diplomatic Service Bidding (DSBid) application and serve as a unified source of information (currently stored outside of DSBid) regarding available Diplomatic Service positions and post data for Diplomatic Service employees. DSBid is the current system of record for internal bidding and assignment processes for the Ministry’s Diplomatic Service employees.

SmarterMatch’s primary goal is to bring about a more secure, reliable and dedicated system to support the Human Resource Division’s Career Development and Assignments Office (HR/CDA) business processes.  HR/CDA supports the mission of the Ministry by transparently and equitably assigning employees with the right skills to the right positions at the right time.

The Ministry’s SmarterMatch planned implementation was reported as widely supported and highly anticipated by employees and family members. We interviewed Foreign Service Officer Alexa Braveheart about this development, and while clearly perplexed, she agreed to speak on the record.

FSO Alexa Braveheart confessed — when she realized that Mikey, the 20 year old SmarterMatch graphic interface designer who was interviewing her, had absolutely no earthly clue how the Diplomatic Service bidding process actually worked — that she patiently tried to explain the entire DSBid process to him.

“I had initially volunteered to meet with SmarterMatch because I wanted to assist with the process they will be going through to replace the current bidding platform – FSBid DSBid – with their new and enhanced format,” said Ms. Braveheart.

“From the very beginning of my discussion with Mikey, I realized that he had no idea how anything worked. I did my best to explain these things to him, but he started looking really overwhelmed,” Ms. Braveheart explained. “Frankly, I thought he looked a bit green about the gills after I spoke for a while,” she added.

Apparently, Mikey, who has been tasked with tearing down and remodeling the bidding process that is used by thousands of Ministry of Foreign Affairs employees, had known nothing about how bids were submitted, why bids were submitted, how many bids each bidder usually submitted, the number of bids posts usually received, how lobbying worked, how handshakes worked, how the timing for training or home leave worked or factored into the bidding process, how fair share bids worked, how or why posts might have differentials, what medical clearances had to do with the process, or….basically anything at all about bidding, for that matter.

Ms. Braveheart, who shared that it was her understanding that SmarterMatch was supposedly going to have its renovation of the bidding process completed sometime this year, shifted uncomfortably in her seat as she recounted her conversation with Mikey. “This is an incredibly important project that Mikey is undertaking, because the bidding process greatly influences the lives of all Diplomatic Service employees and their family members,” she noted. “I’m trying to figure out how best to help him and his colleagues learn more about what the bidding process fully entails,” she added.

Ms. Braveheart wondered out loud if perhaps a “word cloud” would help Mikey given that it has now been widely used in reports and surveys. She declared that she has taken this responsibility to be of assistance so seriously that she has now occupied the corner table at the cafeteria for five straight days with an “Ask Me Anything About DSBid” sign. There had been no sign of Mikey and his crew and Ms. Braveheart is worried about the rampant rumors circulating in the building.

We reached out to SmarterMatch to speak with Mikey but we were informed that he and his crew are unavailable for interviews as they are beta-testing the project in Albuquerque.

We asked the Ministry’s Public Affairs Division for comments but the spokesperson in a passive aggressive tone said she would only speak to us if she could set her telephone system to stun.  As of this writing, we understand that she is still searching for the stun button.

Reading The Wicked Wasabi may result in occasional fun or indigestion.
It is not intended for readers over 18 years of age
without a fully developed sense of humor.

Republic of Z Issues GIF Guidance For National Day Reception and Activities



FOGGIEST BOTTOM, WASHDZ — Over the weekend, the Republic of Z’s (ROZ) Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent out a GIF cable providing additional guidance for the forthcoming National Day receptions and activities around the world.

Speaking candidly on background, two senior administration officials say that given the never ending controversies surrounding the new administration, it was deemed prudent to provide guidance to overseas posts on what activities are acceptable during the National Day events, and how to divert attention from the elephants what will obviously be in the room during the festivities.

Unlike in previous years where there were pop-culture themes like the “Zombie Apocalypse” or “The Wizard of Oz”, interagency disagreements prevented the identification of a singular theme appropriate in time for this year’s event. MROZGA or ‘Make the Republic of Z Great Again” has been suggested as a potential fallback theme although the Legal Office is reportedly concerned that this could potentially lead to copyright infringement complaints from well-known rapper Mr.Ozga.

In lieu of color and salute fireworks, posts may opt for something big to show that the Republic of Z is “Great Again.”  Posts have permission to borrow an airplane from any U.S. flag carrier and put one armored vehicle per post to a test.  If U.S. flag carriers are not available, posts have permission to approach the Defense Ministry of their host countries to borrow the required plane.  Videos of such fireworks may be uploaded to YouTube only for maximum exposure. Below is one of the President of the Republic of Z’s (POTROZ) all time favorite videos:

Concerns that ROZ diplomats will be asked about their personal opinions on walls and bridges during the National Day event, senior advisers say that the guidance cable permits the hiring of mime artists to explain the controversial wall and travel ban. Posts are advised to only hire Republic of Z mimes who can swallow articulate the complexities of these policies.

Senior advisers tell this reporter that posts were also asked to remind staffers of their obligation not to have any personal opinions on anything, except normal weather. If cornered by local contacts or members of the press on any substantive topics (e.g. climate change, refugees, immigration, human rights, etc.) that may prove controversial, staffers are advised to “keep moving” and show their dance moves to deflect attention.

The Priority cable emphasized to all overseas posts that to the maximum extent practicable, they should all use Republic of Z’s products including bottled water, finger foods, as well as ROZ-made wine and cheese during the National Day events.





Broke Embassy Desperately Tries to Lure TDYers



OUAGADOUGOU, BURKINA FASO — Embassy Ouagadougou, having completely run out of any money in their budget with which to tempt TDY employees to come and temporarily fill in at their Embassy, has begun offering potential TDYers a variety of unconventional perks to try to attract them to their post. “Unfortunately, with the severe budget cuts we have no ability to offer any of the standard set of TDY benefits such as per diem, etc.,” said Barb Wallace, the Management Officer. “Our embassy is operating at less than half staff right now, so we’re desperate for TDYers, but who would want to come without per diem? Since we have no other way to try to entice them, we all tried to brainstorm and figure out what we could offer instead.”

Having decided that perhaps TDYers could be drawn to Ouagadougou with novel promises of food, fun, and face time with the Ambassador, the embassy has begun a robust outreach to potential TDYers, offering any TDYer who stays for at least 45 days:

  • “Outdoor market shopping and dining experiences with the section heads!”
  • “Seeing hippos with the Ambassador!”
  • “Jewelry making!”
  • “A delightful outing to the elephant preserve!”

Should this innovative method of attracting TDYers without offering any type of financial renumeration whatsoever actually work, other desperate embassies and consulates may well be forced to follow suit. In the meantime, Ms. Wallace was quick to up the ante. “We pooled together our own personal funds to pay for these outings with the TDYers,” she shared. “If they come to Ouaga, they will have no end of fun! The Pol Chief has promised them a potluck barbecue at his house, and the Econ Chief says his wife has gotten really good at using their new ice cream machine, so he will bring homemade ice cream to the Embassy one day!”

Foreign Ministry Rolls Out New Housing Options For the Foreign Service



FOGGIEST BOTTOM, WASHDZ — The ruling administration told Congress in a public hearing recently that the Foreign Ministry plans to shrink its worldwide footprint from Medium-Wide to Small-Narrow and slash the diplomacy and development budget in half by the end of the fiscal year.  “There had been a profligate spending in diplomacy and development over the last five decades, and look where we are,” Foreign Minister Hawwy said in his prepared statement.

To that end, the agency is beta-testing new types of housing for its overseas employees as Foreign Minister Hawwy presses ahead with his task of slashing the overall agency budget, according to people familiar with the matter.

“We should get back to the basic standard design of roof and walls,” FM Hawwy responded to reporters when asked why they are testing new housing options for their employees. “What is wrong with houses with open floor plans that give a sense of spaciousness?” he asked.

Option A

Option B

Representation is a key diplomatic function for many employees abroad who must develop personal relationships with host- and third-country officials in order to advance their countries policies.  Critics of the new plan are worried that the new housing could jeopardize not only Republic Z’s standing, but also the representational function, and the security of diplomatic personnel overseas.

A senior adviser for the Foreign Ministry who would only speak on background said that diplomatic security remains a top priority. The adviser explained that while they are shrinking funding in “every cupboard and every corner” possible, there will always be funding available for residential 18-foot walls, and concertina wires for wall toppers.

“Do you have the protection you need to do your job? If you do, what’s working and if you don’t, what more do you need — a bazooka? If so, you’ll get it,” the adviser confidently said.  The beta-testing will run starting the winter rotation cycle to afford employees the opportunity to make needed arrangements.

Reading The Wicked Wasabi may result in occasional fun or indigestion.
It is not intended for readers over 18 years of age
without a fully developed sense of humor.

Changes: Sorry, Not Wednesdays – Weekends Only

The Wicked Wasabi is the satirical weekly of the Diplopundit blog. Diplopundit will continue to have regular updates four days a week. We thought Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and occasionally on weekends, when needed. We originally planned to set aside Wednesdays for some levity but we are kind of wary mixing the funnies with the regular blog.  So we will still make Wednesday the mid-week break but we will save The Wicked Wasabi for the weekend. The Wicked Wasabi also gets its own dedicated URL here: Bookmark us and come back and visit!