- Obama takes aim at ‘corporate deserters’
- Dick’s Sporting Goods lays off 478 PGA golf pros
- Senators: Cease-fire must allow Israel to defend against rockets, tunnels
- Sierra Leone doctor fighting Ebola catches disease
- Iraq welcomes Russian fighter jets, helicopter gunships into ISIL fight
- John McCain laments: Obama’s ‘self-pity … is really kind of sad’
- GOP offer to fix VA gives $10 billion in emergency funds
- Paul Ryan offers to repair U.S. economic safety net with a single grant stream
- Kim Jong-un builds bond with Putin: $250M Russia-backed addition to key port opens
- Pope Francis meets Meriam Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman sentenced to death
Embassy Row: Lawyer questions ambassador
Question of the Day
A top Haitian lawyer is perplexed by U.S. Ambassador Kenneth H. Merten, who has stoked controversy over whether Haitian President Michel Martelly holds U.S. citizenship in violation of Haiti’s constitution.
Stanley Gaston, president of the Port-au-Prince Bar Association, on Monday questioned why Mr. Merten invoked U.S. privacy laws when he discussed Mr. Martelly’s citizenship at a news conference with the Haitian president last week.
The ambassador, however, also appeared to obfuscate matters by adding that U.S. privacy laws are “very strict.”
“I don’t have the right to discuss the file, whether they are a president or one of my friends, without the permission of the person concerned,” Mr. Merten was quoted as saying.
His reference to a “file” was not explained.
A Haitian parliamentary commission is investigating allegations that Mr. Martelly might hold dual U.S.-Haitian citizenship or might have renounced his Haitian citizenship before he ran for president last year.
In either case, he would be ineligible to hold his office.
Before he ran for president, Mr. Martelly was an entertainer who frequently performed in Miami. He owns a house in Palm Beach, Fla.
Mr. Gaston noted that the ambassador’s comment adds to the confusion of the situation, which was muddled earlier by a statement from a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on a recent visit to Haiti.
Cheryl Mills, Mrs. Clinton’s chief of staff, also referred to U.S. privacy laws in a discussion with a member of the Haitian commission investigating Mr. Martelly.
“According to the law of the United States that protects the private lives, American institutions do not have the authority to give information concerning its citizens,” Ms. Mills was quoted as saying.
Mr. Gaston noted that American officials have no responsibility to abide by U.S. privacy laws if they are not discussing U.S. citizens..
“When one speaks, a lawyer listens closely with a lot of interest, analyzing what you are saying,” Mr. Gaston said. “What interests me are the things that did not have to be said.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
James Morrison joined the The Washington Times in 1983 as a local reporter covering Alexandria, Va. A year later, he was assigned to open a Times bureau in Canada. From 1987 to 1989, Mr. Morrison was The Washington Times reporter in London, covering Britain, Western Europe and NATO issues. After returning to Washington, he served as an assistant foreign editor ...
- Embassy Row: India strikes back over diplomat's arrest
- Embassy Row: India 'shocked,' 'appalled' by consular officer's arrest
- Embassy Row: Wife of Christian held in Iran feels abandoned by Obama
- Wife of jailed U.S. Christian in Iran calls for White House help
- Senate debate: Is Santa Claus an American citizen?
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By Michael Widlanski
Leveling the battlefield to aid terrorists enables evil to fight on
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- Hamas rejects Kerry's call for cease-fire; Fears grow others could join fight against Israel
- Evidence shows Russia firing artillery into Ukraine: Pentagon
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- Obama's empty tough-talk: Gun prosecutions plummet on his watch
- SOWELL:Bordering on immigration madness
- CARSON: Costco and the perils of mixing politics and business
- Algerian plane diverted due to storms, second aircraft: 116 missing
- Presidents of Honduras, Guatemala blame U.S. for border children crisis
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq