Adding to the trumped-up nature of the charges, the State Department accuses Van Buren of "bad judgment" because he mocked Michele Bachmann and criticized Hillary Clinton's laughing at Libyan leader Qaddafi's death. Does the State Department really need to be told that the First Amendment covers political speech?

From WaPo:

According to a report by the State Department, the agency put him on a watch list for the Secret Service and identified him to Clinton's security detail as a potential threat.

"I'm a chubby 52-year-old," Van Buren said. "I've never threatened anybody in my life. It's a cheap shot."

An Agency that spends so much of its time touting free speech abroad ought to also protect speech at home, especially political speech criticizing government officials.
"It's hard for me to objectively look at this as anything other than revenge and vindictiveness," Van Buren said from his house in Falls Church.

Jesselyn Radack, national security and human rights director for the Government Accountability Project, which represents Van Buren, said: "It's awfully curious timing, given the Office of Special Counsel complaint."

The timing evidences the State Department's retaliatory motive:
September 2010 - Van Buren submits his book for pre-publication review

April 2011 - Van Buren begins his blog (

Fall 2011 - AFTER Van Buren's book has been shipped to printers, the State Department alleges the book contains classified information and requests redaction.

Meanwhile, the State Department transfers Van Buren to a meaningless telework position,confiscates his diplomatic passport, suspends his security clearance, and - for a time - bars him from entering any State Department facility.

December 2011 - Date on the "Report of Investigation" used as the basis to propose firing Van Buren, though Van Buren only learned to the Report months later when it was given to him with the proposed firing.