Nominee Crashes Into Language Barrier
By Al Kamen
Monday, June 21, 2004; Page A17
A bit of light was shed last week on Cristina V. Beato's stalled nomination to be assistant secretary of health at the Department of Health and Human Services.
Beato, who had been deputy assistant secretary, was nominated back in July to move up. But the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee has yet to hold a hearing on the nomination, with Democrats raising questions about, among other things, whether she had embellished her résumé.
For example, they note that she said she had "established" a University of New Mexico occupational health clinic and claimed to be "medical attache" at the U.S. Embassy in Turkey for six months in 1986. That position didn't exist until 1995, and the New Mexico clinic existed before she was hired.
Back in January, the committee asked Beato, who emigrated as a child from Cuba, to explain these and other concerns. She and HHS lawyers are still working on the answers, which apparently take a lot of time. By Feb. 24, her résumé on the HHS Web site had been fixed to take care of any problems.
And last week her hometown paper, the Albuquerque Journal, hinted at what the real problem might be. As they said in "Cool Hand Luke," it's a failure to communicate.
In an interview with the Journal, Beato said that because she was a nominee for the post, she couldn't comment on the specific allegations. She added, though, that English is her third language -- she is a native Spanish speaker and also speaks French -- and that she has sometimes made mistakes in wording things.
"I've never been one to tout anything," she told the Journal, adding that she hasn't "paid much attention to the details of her résumé."
French? But of course. That's why it said medical attache on the résumé.
No Longer So 'Well Confirmed'
Noted without comment.
June 17, 2004. Vice President Cheney talking to CNBC's Gloria Borger.
Borger: "Well, let's go to MohamedAtta for a minute, because you mentioned him as well. You have said in the past that it was, quote, 'pretty well confirmed.' "
Cheney: "No, I never said that."
Cheney: "Never said that."
© 2004 The Washington Post Company
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