Trump team seeks info from State Dept. on women's rights efforts

By Stephen Feller  |  Dec. 23, 2016 at 2:38 AM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- For the second time in a week, a department of the government is airing concerns about questions President-elect Donald Trump's transition team is asking about actions on specific issues and who is working on them.

The transition emailed a request to several people at the State Department on Wednesday asking about gender-related staffing, programming and funding and other details about the agency's efforts to spur better treatment of women around the world.

In the first instance of what employees say feels like a "witch hunt" for people involved in specific issues, the transition asked the Department of Energy for information on climate change projects and asked for information on any scientist who has worked on the research.

While Department of Energy employees outright rejected participating in any part of the questionnaire they received, the State Department decided to complete the lists they'd been asked to make because while the transition asked about offices within the department, specific programs and the titles of positions of people who would be responsible for that work, they did not ask for the names of people doing the work.

Some at the State Department say they are "freaked out" by the questions being asked, but spokesman John Kirby said that while there may be cause for concern down the road, the fact that new people will be taking over the the department means they need to understand how things work.

"In helping any new team get a grip on a new organization that as they try to understand bureaus and how they're manned that there is going to be a discussion, there needs to be a discussion about what positions will remain open for them to fill and what positions they might not have to worry about filling," Kirby said. "When a new captain comes aboard a ship, you tell him who's on board and what jobs they have and how the ship operates. That's the way it works."

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