Ambassador Anne W. Patterson File Part 1

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Who exactly is Ambassador Anne W. Patterson? This is the first in a series of TMFJ compilations of information regarding Mrs. Patterson and her involvements in foreign service.

Anne Woods Patterson (born 1949) is an American diplomat and career Foreign Service Officer. She served as acting United States Ambassador to the United Nations in 2005 and as United States Ambassador to Pakistan from July 2007 to October 2010.


Patterson was born in Fort Smith, Arkansas. She attended The Hockaday School in Dallas, Texas. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Wellesley College and attended graduate school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for one year. Patterson is married to David R. Patterson, a retired Foreign Service officer. The couple has two children.


Patterson entered the Foreign Service in 1973.

She served as a US State Department Economic Officer and Counselor to Saudi Arabia from 1984 to 1988 and then as a Political Counselor at the United States Mission to the United Nations in Geneva from 1988 to 1991.

Patterson served as State Department Director for the Andean Countries from 1991 to 1993. She served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Inter-American Affairs from 1993 to 1996.

Patterson served as United States Ambassador to El Salvador from 1997 to 2000, and then as United States Ambassador to Colombia from 2000 to 2003. While ambassador to Colombia, Patterson and U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone were the alleged targets of a failed bomb plot while on an official visit to the Colombian town of Barrancabermeja. From 2003 to 2004 Patterson served as Deputy Inspector General of the US State Department.

In August 2004, Patterson was appointed Deputy U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations. Patterson became acting Permanent Representative to the United Nations after John Danforth resigned, effective January 20, 2005. An extended delay in the confirmation of John R. Bolton by the Senate (ending when Bolton assumed the position on August 1, 2005, after a recess appointment) caused Patterson to serve as interim permanent representative longer than expected.

Patterson became Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs on November 28, 2005, serving until May 2007. President George W. Bush appointed Patterson as the United States Ambassador to Pakistan after Ryan Crocker left that post to become Ambassador to Iraq. She served in Pakistan between July 2007 and October 2010.[1]

Just two months before former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was killed in a terror attack, Bhutto submitted a written request to Ambassador Patterson, asking Patterson for help carrying out an evaluation of the security because she feared for her life, say WikiLeaks cables. The cables also reveal that Patterson and the George W. Bush administration chose to ignore the request, suggesting instead Bhutto work constructively with General Pervez Musharraf's government -- the same organization that she insisted was out to kill her.

Bhutto had made the request to the US Ambassador immediately after a terror strike killed more than 130 people at a rally organized by the Pakistan Peoples Party on October 18, 2007 in Karachi. The rally was organized to welcome her back to Pakistan after her eight years' exile. According to the Wikileaks cables, Bhutto told Ambassador Patterson that she did not believe that the Pakistan Government was providing the security she needed and she was in danger.


Fort Smith native faces friendly confirmation hearing
Posted on 21 June 2011
By Peter Urban
Stephens Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — The Senate Foreign Relations Committee offered no doubts today that Anne Woods Patterson will be the nation’s next ambassador to Egypt.

Democratic and Republican members traded turns praising Woods, a native of Fort Smith, as a highly respected career diplomat.

“I am greatly encouraged the President has nominated someone of her caliber for this critical assignment at this obviously critical moment,” said Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.

Kerry, who chairs the committee, said he had worked very closely with Patterson when she served as ambassador to Pakistan and was impressed with her “calm professional approach” to the many hot issues she faced.

“The sooner we can get her on the ground the better,” Kerry said.

Indiana Sen. Dick Lugar, the ranking Republican on the committee, praised Patterson’s “exemplary service to our country” and assured her that the committee would “be taking action very soon” on her confirmation.

Patterson, who was ambassador to Pakistan from 2007 to October 2010, has served since March as the State Department’s special coordinator for Egypt. President Barack Obama nominated her as ambassador in May.

Patterson served in Islamabad during a particularly tense and difficult time that included concerns over the safety of nuclear material in Pakistan and civilian deaths caused by U.S. drone strikes against al Qaida and Taliban targets inside Pakistan.

Her new assignment will be no less challenging as Egypt — a key ally in the region — struggles to build a new democracy while facing economic hardships. Protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square led to the overthrow of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in February.

“Egypt faces significant challenges as it tries to build a new political order that is democratic and tolerant,” Kerry said. “And questions remain about the role of religious parties in Egyptian politics, the stability of Muslim-Christian relations, and the future of Egypt’s approach to Israel.”

Patterson said she understands the serious responsibilities facing her should she be confirmed as ambassador.

“Egypt is at the epicenter of enormous promising changes in the Arab world,” Patterson said, but cautioned “transitions to democracy are difficult and long.”

Patterson said her first priority would be to assure that upcoming Egyptian elections are free and fair. And, beyond that a key focus of U.S. assistance would be to encourage private sector growth.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has already earmarked $65 million to assist Egypt in developing its democratic political system. Another $100 million would go for job creation.

The Obama administration is also hoping Congress will agree to forgive about $1 billion in Egyptian debt that would be paid instead into infrastructure or other investments to help Egypt become a stable democratic force in the region, she said.

Joining Patterson at the hearing were her husband, David, a retired diplomat, and two children — Jessica and Andrew. Two other children — Edward and Rachel — were unable to attend.

Jessica Patterson is heading soon to Afghanistan to lead a civilian provisional reconstruction team in Paktika Province on the Pakistan border. Andrew Patterson recently joined the U.S. Marine Corps.

Patterson plans to be in Fort Smith over the July 4th weekend to visit family and friends.

Patterson joined the Foreign Service in 1973 and has previously served as ambassador to Colombia and El Salvador, and held a number of leadership positions at the Department of State.

WikiLeaksShows the Woman in-charge Behind the Scene


In the past three years Anne W. Patterson, the US ambassador to Pakistan until October, has dealt with a weak civilian government, a recalcitrant military, a stockpile of not very strictly guarded highly enriched uranium (as per the latest release of ambassadors’ cables by WikiLeaks), the Taliban, a war in the country on the west, and regular flare ups with the neighbor on the east. All of this in the most populous Muslim country in the world that is also America’s most important ally in its war against terror.

By all accounts, Patterson has emerged as the second most powerful woman in U.S. diplomacy, after, of course, Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.

“It’s a country with very few good options and you have to make decisions when you are somewhat in the dark. She will be a resource for the entire duration of her career and beyond,” says Peter Tichansky, president of the Business Council of International Understanding, an organization that was launched as a White House initiative in 1955 and facilitates alliances between business and political leaders. “She’s had to be equally forceful on issues relating to national security, regional politics, dealing not only with the elected branch, legislative, military, ISI…. Did she have a flame thrower and take every one out? No. But she’s had to play a number of extremely challenging roles in a very professional manner.”

Patterson, 61, was born in Fort Smith, Ark., got her B.A. from Wellesley College and joined the Foreign Service in 1973. She was the U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador from 1997 to 2000, and then to Colombia from 2000 to 2003 where she and U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone were the targets of a failed bomb plot while on an official visit to the Colombian town of Barrancabermeja. From 2003 to 2004 Patterson served as Deputy Inspector General of the US State Department. For a little over a year from August 2004 she held various positions in the US mission to the United Nations. She became Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs on November 28, 2005 (better known as the department of drugs and thugs), serving until May 2007, when former president George W. Bush shipped her to Pakistan.

To be sure it’s been one of the most challenging posts, if not the most. The closest comparison that Tichansky has for the magnitude of the job that Patterson had is Iraq when the security situation was at its lowest point there in 2005 when John Negroponte was the ambassador there, a job he had volunteered for. “The questions is,” he says, “how close are you to an unmanageable war environment and she was right there.”

A fair assessment means that you have to open your thinking to courage and performance going back 50 years or so and more importantly, it depends on how you consider what Pakistan is today, adds Tichansky. “If it’s the most dangerous, volatile country, and given its nuclear arsenal and the presence of terrorists, very few other countries have that fragility where the price of failure is as grave,” he says. “U.S.-Korea, U.S.-China, U.S.-Saudi Arabia are all very important strategically, but they aren’t as multidimensional or challenging because we don’t even know who holds power in Pakistan. Is it the military, the ISI, some Pakistani-Americans say it’s not even a country as it’s run by different factions of power.”

Apart from the political wheeling-dealing, she even encouraged Pakistani business houses to come to the U.S. and pitch the vibrant economic opportunities there to businesses, politicians and the media.

Patterson completed her tour in Pakistan in October. Her next stop is likely to be Cairo, one of America’s closest allies in the fractious middle east and another relationship that could make use of her skillful diplomacy.

2007: Benazir asks Patterson for security assessment assistance


126768 10/23/2007 14:50 07ISLAMABAD4531 Embassy Islamabad CONFIDENTIAL “O 231450Z OCT 07









E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/23/2017




Classified By: DCM Peter Bodde for Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

1. (C) SUMMARY. Ambassador and Consul General Karachi met

with Benazir Bhutto and members of her staff October 23

regarding a range of issues, but most urgently about her security. Bhutto requested, in writing, that USG “”undertake an evaluation of existing executive security procedures and recommendation of additional resources necessary for maximum safety.”" Ambassador recommends that we meet with members of her staff and provide list of security contractors who could provide this assessment.

2. (C) We strongly recommend against providing a U.S. Government evaluation, which will inevitably expose performance gaps that would not meet American standards of training and equipment. Responsibility for security belongs with the Government of Pakistan. We will keep stressing to both sides that government and Bhutto’s party must work directly together to resolve any questions or issues regarding Bhutto’s personal security. END SUMMARY.

3. (C) Ambassador, CG and Information Officer met with Benazir Bhutto and members of her staff October 23 at her residence in Karachi. (Other elements reported septel.)

4. (C) Bhutto gave a request in writing to the Ambassador that Embassy staff meet with AmCit Larry Wallace and members of Bhutto’s staff to provide an assessment of her security. She seemed uncertain about what exactly this entailed, but she had heard that we had provided such assessments for others in the past. The Ambassador said that there were situations in which the USG provided security – former President Aristide and President Karzai came to mind – but, in these situations, the security was basically turned over to American contractors supervised by official U.S. personnel. The Ambassador doubted it would be consistent with a political campaign. She noted there was also training provided through ATA and INL that provided anti-terrorist and law enforcement training but these were long-term in nature.

5. (C) Embassy proposes meeting with Wallace and PPP security experts to provide them with a list of responsible security contractors who could provide such an assessment. Ambassador strongly recommends against a U.S. Government evaluation, which would inevitably identify gaps (by American standards) in both equipment and training of personnel. The USG should either undertake full responsibility for Bhutto’s personal security or not. We also believe it highly unlikely that the PPP would follow professional recommendations not to hold rallies in large crowds. Protection of prime ministerial candidates is the responsibility of the government of Pakistan, and the GoP must provide the best possible security for Bhutto and other candidates.