Freedom Agenda Proponents Depart State Department

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One of the last remaining Liz Cheney acolytes is leaving the State Department. In an email sent to colleagues and friends yesterday and obtained by Mother Jones, David Denehy, who founded the State Department’s Office of Iranian Affairs last year and has been a senior advisor on promoting democracy in Iran, announced he is leaving Foggy Bottom later this month.

Here’s his email:

Friends:

October 26, 2007 will be my last day with the U.S. Department of State; my decision to leave the administration is due, in part, to my belief that I am better able to serve the goals of the President’s Freedom Agenda from outside of government. While there have been many challenges to the work we have done together, the rewards have been equally as great. I leave the Department proud that I was able to work with you to support those seeking to expand personal freedom and democracy in Iran. I urge you that no matter how strenuous the debate of our work that you continue to support those in Iran who cannot speak for themselves. I know that this will not be the last time our paths will cross and wish you all the best of luck in the future; post October 26, 2007, if you would like to write, please feel free to contact me at [redacted].

Please feel free to contact either [redacted], with any questions or concerns you may have regarding Iran democracy program activities.

Again, thank you for your friendship and support.

All the best,

David Denehy

Denehy’s departure comes just a few weeks after his colleague, J. Scott Carpenter, left Foggy Bottom for a fellowship at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. At a forum there featuring Carpenter and other pro democracy experts earlier this month, the International Republican Institute’s president Lorne Craner said he had reluctantly come to the conclusion that the whole Middle East pro democracy program should be moved outside the State Department (where it is unpopular), perhaps to a new institution modeled on the National Endowment for Democracy.

Denehy and Carpenter both previously worked for the International Republican Institute.

Denehy’s and Carpenter’s former boss at State, Liz Cheney, left the Bush administration in the spring of 2006 on maternity leave, but never really came back, sources say. Her departure left those she had brought into the State Department somewhat orphaned in a bureaucracy some consider hostile to their efforts to promote regime change in Iran.

Liz Cheney has since become a foreign policy advisor to the Fred Thompson campaign.

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