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Tillerson denies ‘dismantling’ the State Department

Tillerson denies ‘dismantling’ the State Department

Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonWatchdog org: Tillerson used million in taxpayer funds to fly throughout US Trump administration rigging the game, and your retirement fund could be the loser Haley’s exit sends shockwaves through Washington MORE on Sunday pushed back against the idea that the number of vacancies in the State Department reflects a dismantling of the agency.

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“There’s been no dismantling at all of the State Department. We’ve got terrific people, both foreign service officers, civil servants, that have stepped into those roles around the world, and have stepped in here,” Tillerson said on CBS's “60 Minutes.” 

Reporter Margaret Brennan noted that there are roughly 40 embassies without confirmed ambassadors.

“It’s not a question of people being … are neglecting the importance of it. It’s just the nature of the process itself,” Tillerson said. 

Multiple reports in recent months have indicated Tillerson has reduced staffing and put a freeze on hiring in other positions. In addition, a number of career State Department officials have left the agency.

Sixty percent of top-ranking career diplomats have left the State Department and the number of people looking to join the foreign service has decreased, according to a McClatchy report.  

The lack of staffing comes amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and North Korea, Iran and other nations.