recommended reading

State Department adviser lays out pros and cons of Internet diplomacy

Alex Ross at an event in 2009

Alex Ross at an event in 2009 // Flickr user poptech

The Wikileaks scandal has inspired State Department officials to be more active online rather than less, says a senior adviser to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“[Wikileaks] is largely made up of members and followers rather than paid staff,” Clinton’s Senior Adviser for Innovation, Alec Ross, said in an interview taped for C-SPAN’s Communicators program. “It has a Web address rather than a street address. It’s truly transnational and virtual in nature.”

“When you recognize that an organization like that can so disrupt the conduct of foreign policy you can do one of two things,” Ross continued. “You can either curl into the fetal position or you can say, ‘you know what, these networks are of great power and great consequence in our foreign policy, so we need to be as strong as possible.’ Secretary Clinton is not one to curl into the fetal position. Nor are any of the rest of us at the State Department. So if anything, it’s affirmed the need for us to be Internet smart.”

Nextgov correspondent Joseph Marks was the episode’s guest reporter. He interviewed Ross with Communicators host Peter Slen.

Ross has encouraged senior diplomats and Foreign Service officers to integrate social media and other new technology into diplomacy as a method to speak directly to citizens rather than through often state-run media.

During the Communicators interview he called Secretary Clinton “the most innovation friendly American diplomat since Benjamin Franklin” and credited her with pushing the State Department bureaucracy to embrace new technology.

Check out the full interview here.

It will air at 6:30 p.m. Saturday on C-SPAN and at 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday on C-SPAN 2.

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • It’s Time for the Federal Government to Embrace Wireless and Mobility

    The United States has turned a corner on the adoption of mobile phones, tablets and other smart devices, outpacing traditional desktop and laptop sales by a wide margin. This issue brief discusses the state of wireless and mobility in federal government and outlines why now is the time to embrace these technologies in government.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.