Lynne Weil goes to USAID

One of public diplomacy’s best friends on the Hill, Lynne Weil, is going to USAID. Al Kamen writes about this move:

The beleaguered Agency of International Development is awaiting the arrival of some assistant administrators to give the new boss, Rajiv Shah, some help in restoring the dysfunctional shop to at least some semblance of robust health (he is a doctor, after all). …

Now comes word that he's tapped veteran Hill foreign policy insider and media maven Lynne Weil to shore up the AID press shop as its director and to be the agency spokeswoman. Weil, who spent 15 years as a reporter, much of that time overseas, has worked on the Hill for nearly nine years , including stints for then-Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joe Biden and then for the House Foreign Affairs Committee, for the late Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.) and more recently for Chairman Howard Berman (D-Calif.).

The House Foreign Affairs Committee and Chairman Berman’s loss is AID’s gain. This move should help USAID in ways more than just press relations. Lynne won’t check her public diplomacy legislative experience at the door.

As a result of the wonderful world of dysfunction created by Senator Jesse Helms when he abolished the United States Information Agency, Lynne will report to PJ Crowley. Yes, that PJ, State Department’s Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs. More on that when I write on the State Department Inspector General inspection report on the Bureau of Public Affairs. I’ll include comments from my sit down with PJ last week – after participating in a little send off of Ian Kelly to from State to Vienna – when we discussed this report.