1. SCALING BACK

    U.S. to ‘Right-Size’ Iraq Embassy

    BAGHDAD, IRAQ - JANUARY 5:  The US flag is raised during a formal dedication ceremony attended by the Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, at the new US embassy amid heavy security, in Green Zone, on January 5, 2009 in Baghdad, Iraq. The embassy compound is the biggest and most expensive that the US have built and will house 4000 staff.  (Photo by Getty Images)

    Getty Images

    Responding to a New York Times report that White House officials were preparing to cut the U.S. diplomatic staff in Iraq by as much as 50 percent, a State Department spokesman insisted they were only considering whether the U.S. Embassy was “right-sized” following the final departure of U.S. troops. The State Department said it was “examining the numbers” of its $750 million embassy and figuring out the best way to downsize the large presence of Iraqi contractors—roughly 16,000—and source more goods and services to the local economy. “We’re trying to do our best to save the American taxpayer money in the way we support our diplomatic personnel,” a department spokesman told NBC News on Tuesday. In a statement referenced in the New York Times report, embassy spokesman Michael McClellan said the 2,000 diplomats were also “subject to adjustment as appropriate.”

    Read it at Washington Post