- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Despite scores of media outlets that characterized this week’s order for staff at the U.S. Embassy in Yemen to evacuate — a so-called evacuation order — a spokeswoman for the State Department insisted on Tuesday that it’s not an “evacuation.”

It’s a “reduction in staffing,” said Jennifer Psaki, during a press conference reported by Politico.

The context of the comments was this: Yemen’s president just left a visit with White House officials where he expressed dissatisfaction with the U.S. decision to pull diplomats from the country, based on warnings of a looming attack. Officials with Yemen’s Embassy in Washington called the move counterproductive, Politico reported. They also said it furthers the mission of al Qaeda and other militant groups.


SEE ALSO: Yemen foils al Qaeda bomb plot, as U.S. drones strike again


The Yemen Embassy’s statement: “While the government of Yemen appreciates foreign governments’ concern for the safety of their citizens, the evacuation of embassy staff serves the interests of the extremists.”

Ms. Psaki said during the later press conference that the State Department disagreed with that characterization and that the United States only responded to an “immediate, specific” threat. She then went on to address the U.S. order for all non-emergency personnel at the U.S. Embassy in Yemen to evacuate — and said it wasn’t an evacuation order.

“It is inaccurate to call it an evacuation,” she said, Politico reported. “This is a reduction in staffing. We still have a presence in Yemen. The U.S. government does. The State Department does. We still will be able to provide some services.”


SEE ALSO: Al Qaeda on rise despite U.S. support to Yemen