The Washington Post


(A 2011 photo of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton chairing a meeting at the State Department)

When the new secretary was confirmed six week ago, there were 30 or so framed photos hanging in a hallway outside the public affairs offices on the second floor.

Up until about three weeks ago, most all of them were of former secretary Hillary Clinton and her senior staff, traveling, speaking and so on.

But now she’s vanished from this gallery, replaced largely by photos of senior State Department officials. There don’t appear to be any photos of her anywhere in this particular display. (There was one further down the hallway, though.)

Some of the photos now in this section, such as one with deputy secretary Bill Burns, don’t identify the others in the shot. One from 2011 of Luis CDebaca, the ambassador at large to monitor and combat trafficking in persons, says he’s meeting with ”other officials.”

The “other officials” in this case includes at least five cabinet members — former Defense Secretary Bob Gates, Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano, former Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, plus FBI Director Bob Mueller and National Intelligence director James Clapper.

Hold on! The woman sitting directly across from CDebaca looks very much like. . . wait . . . yes, Clinton herself! And she’s the one who opened the meeting, spoke, introduced the other cabinet folks who also spoke.

So far, there are only five photos featuring Kerry in the gallery. All of them were taken during his first couple of days on the job. One shows him holding aloft his old childhood passport, the one he used as the son of a foreign service officer posted to Berlin in the 1950s.

Doubtless some lovely shots from his recent European/Mideast jaunt — perhaps the tower in Paris, the pyramids outside Cairo? -- will grace the corridor walls shortly.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.


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