Timothy M. Carney

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Timothy M. Carney
Amb. Timothy M. Carney
45th United States Ambassador to Haiti
In office
14 January 1998 – 11 December 1999
President Bill Clinton
Preceded by William L. Swing
Succeeded by Brian D. Curran
14th United States Ambassador to Sudan
In office
27 June 1995 – 30 November 1997
President Bill Clinton
Preceded by Donald K. Petterson
Succeeded by Robert E. Whitehead (acting)
Personal details
Born 12 July 1944
St. Joseph, Missouri
Spouse(s) Victoria Butler
Children 1 daughter
Alma mater M.I.T., B.S. degree, 1966
Cornell University, 1975-76
Southeast Asian Studies
Profession Career U.S. Diplomat
Democracy Projects (Haiti)

Timothy Michael Carney (born 12 July 1944) is a retired American diplomat and consultant. He served as a career Foreign Service Officer for 32 years, with assignments that included Vietnam and Cambodia as well as Lesotho and South Africa, before being appointed as ambassador to Sudan and later in Haiti. Carney served with a number of U.N. Peacekeeping Missions, and until recently led the Haiti Democracy Project, an initiative launched under the presidency of George W. Bush to build stronger institutional foundations for the country's long-term relationship with the United States.[1]:04–16

Carney served as Executive Vice President of the Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund, a non-profit organization whose principal purpose was to assist Haiti's redevelopment in the aftermath of the devastating January 2010 earthquake until the Fund rolled over operations in December 2012 to a domestic Haitian non-profit organization.[2]

Foreign Service career[edit]

Early assignments[edit]

Carney began his Foreign Service Officer career in Vietnam in 1967 as a rotation officer based in Saigon for corruption, war environment and youth affairs.[1]:18–25 He was then stationed in Lesotho as deputy principal officer in charge of government, environmental and Peace Corps affairs until 1971.[1]:25–32 In 1972, he was appointed Second Secretary at the U.S. Mission in Phnom Penh, before returning to the United States to study at Cornell University in 1975.[1]:32–52

After spending a few years at the State Department's East Asian desk, Carney was appointed as U.S. consul in Udorn, Thailand and later as political officer in Bangkok during the third Indochina war from 1979 until 1983.[1]:58–71 After serving three year stints as a political counselor to U.S. Missions in Jakarta, Indonesia and Pretoria, South Africa (before Apartheid ended), Carney joined the White House National Security Council staff under President George H. W. Bush.[1]:71–87,100 He initially focused on Asian affairs, but would soon be asked by the White House to take on special assignments at the United Nations as a political adviser.

In that capacity, Carney cycled through several United Nations positions during the 1990s, serving from 1992 to 1993 as the Director of Information and Education of the UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia, in 1993 as the Special Political Adviser to the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in Somalia,[1]:108–112 and in 1994 in the UN Observer Mission in South Africa as it prepared for the historic post-Apartheid transition to democracy in 1994.[1]:113–115

In 1994, Carney was appointed as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs. A year later, he would receive his first ambassadorial posting.[1]:115–120

U.S. Ambassador to Sudan[edit]

Carney was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Sudan on 27 June 1995 during a period of turmoil in U.S.-Sudan relations.[1]:121 Osama bin Laden had taken up residence in Khartoum a few years earlier, and Sudan's alleged harboring and abetting of Muslim extremists on its soil was attracting attention of counterterrorism experts in the United States and abroad.[3] Carney's tenure as ambassador followed a tumultuous period during which his predecessor, Amb. Donald K. Petterson, had been forced to draw down embassy staff by half and send their families back to America when terrorist threats were made against U.S. diplomats stationed in Khartoum.[4]

In late 1993, Petterson was asked by Clinton administration officials to deliver a "non-paper" ultimatum to Sudan's Islamist leader, Hasan al-Turabi, and the country's president, Omar al-Bashir.[5] The document contained a brief list of talking points that were designed to warn Sudanese leaders about any involvement in alleged plots to kill American diplomats working in Sudan.[3] The alleged threats were based on evidence gathered by a foreign agent retained by the C.I.A., evidence that would be used to justify Petterson's reduction of U.S. embassy personnel in Khartoum. The agent's information would later be found to have been fabricated, and would force the C.I.A. to redact or delete up to 100 reports on Sudan.[6] Petterson would later state that he did not believe the intelligence findings warranted a draw down in embassy staff.[4]:69

Petterson's compulsory delivery of the talking points based on faulty U.S. intelligence would set the stage for strained relations between Washington and Khartoum that lasted well into Carney's early tenure as ambassador.[4] In late 1995, Carney was also asked to deliver a similar non-paper message based on what he would later recount as having been poorly sourced U.S. intelligence.[7]

In early 1996, a few months after his credentials had been accepted, Carney met with senior Sudanese foreign ministry officials prior to vacating the U.S. embassy in Khartoum for the safer environs of Nairobi.[8] He proposed tangible steps to recover the rapidly deteriorating relationship between Washington and Khartoum.[3] In March 1996, El Fatih Erwa, then minister of state for defense, was authorized by President Omar al-Bashir to make several secret trips to the United States to hold talks with US officials, including Carney and senior C.I.A. Africa experts, about US sanctions policy against Sudan and what measures might be taken by the Bashir regime to lift them.[9]

During a series of meetings in northern Virginia, Erwa was presented with a list of U.S. requirements, including demands for information about bin Laden and other radical Islamic groups encamped in Sudan.[10] The U.S. also demanded that the Bashir regime stop hosting the Popular Arab and Islamic Congress conferences that were increasingly perceived in the west as global terrorist planning sessions. Carney argued with State Department, C.I.A. and other U.S. officials, including Susan Rice, then-Africa Director at the National Security Council, that Sudan's Mukhabarat (central intelligence agency) was amassing volumes of valuable intelligence on Islamist leaders through their pilgrimages to Khartoum for the PAIC conferences.[9] In May 1996, despite Carney's efforts to persuade U.S. officials to reconcile with Khartoum on intelligence matters, the Clinton Administration demanded that Sudan expel bin Laden. The Saudi fugitive fled to Afghanistan. Carney was relegated to shuttling from Nairobi to Khartoum to engage in his ambassadorial duties.[1]:121–131

Carney resigned his post as ambassador in November 1997.[1]:131

U.S. Ambassador to Haiti[edit]

Carney was appointed as U.S. Ambassador to Haiti on 14 January 1998. At the time of his appointment, Haiti was in political turmoil: former president, Jean-Bertrande Aristide, was locked in a battle to retake power in the election of 2000. Upon arrival in Haiti, Carney laid out U.S. concerns—lack of governance, lack of economic sustainability programs and an inability to prevent narco-trafficking through Haiti as the first port of call by the Cali drug cartels from Colombia.[1]:131–134

American policy in the region was ineffective at the time. Carney's first task was to streamline reporting to Washington about ground realities in Haiti, as well as bringing in U.S. policymakers in to see firsthand what U.S. taxpayer dollars were funding in the country. Carney touted humanitarian successes of U.S. policy in Haiti, including success in preventing the spread of AIDS and providing lunch money to upwards of 500,000 Haitian students each school day. Microcredit financing efforts were also on display, as was the U.S. Coast Guard to monitor Haiti's coastline for Cali go-fast boats laden with cocaine shipments bound for the U.S. mainland.[1]:136

Structural problems remained, however, including widespread political and judicial corruption, as well as police malfeasance that slowly ebbed Haiti's development toward civil society. As Aristide made his comeback, Carney made plans to retire to the private sector, and on 11 December 1999, resigned his post.[1]:137 Shortly after his term as ambassador to Haiti had ended, U.S. Senator Mike DeWine commended Carney and his wife Vicki for their efforts to improve living conditions in Haiti. On July 26, 2000, DeWine said from the Senate floor, "Mr. President, on another matter related to Haiti, I take this opportunity this evening to commend and thank my friend, Ambassador Tim Carney, for his 2-year service as U.S. Ambassador to Haiti. Tim and his wife Vicki proudly represented the United States. Day in and day out, they were committed to helping the people of Haiti overcome their dismal surroundings and their dire circumstances. Tim and Vicki worked to alleviate hunger and poverty throughout the island and encouraged practical economic reforms."[11]

Other assignments[edit]

In March 2003, Carney joined the staff of Lt. Gen. Jay Garner in Iraq and served three months as the senior authority in the Ministry of Industry and Minerals as part of the Coalition Provisional Authority that governed Iraq in the aftermath of U.S. forces overthrowing the regime of Saddam Hussein. He has also lectured on areas of his expertise on Iraq since 2004 to assist in preparing regular army and National Guard units for their assignments in Iraq.[1]:137–143 In 2007, Carney returned to Iraq from February until June to serve as Coordinator for Economic Transition[12] and was again with the State Department as Head of the Interagency Election Support Team in Kabul from March until November 2009.[13]

Haiti Democracy Project[edit]

Amb. Carney speaks at O.A.S., Washington D.C., 12 July 2011

The Haiti Democracy Project was officially launched in November 2002 at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. as a non-profit organization. Its funding was raised from U.S., Haitian-American and Haitian individuals. Its primary purpose was to be the creation of more effective U.S. policy towards Haiti.[14]

As Haiti's economic situation had deteriorated during the second Aristide presidency, demonstrations proliferated throughout the country and political dialogue broke down between opposition leaders and the Aristide government. Carney, who spoke at the inaugural event and later went on to become Chairman of the Board for the project, raised concerns about whether the United States government was paying attention to the gravity of problems that were beginning to affect Haiti's stability systemically.

He criticized U.S. congressional leaders, particularly those in the Black Caucus, for a "do-nothing" attitude towards Haiti, much of which he had seen firsthand during his tenure as ambassador.[15]

Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund[edit]

In the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Haiti on January 10, 2010, President Barack Obama asked former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush to work together raising funds for the rehabilitation and long-term recovery of Haiti. The Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund was created as a 501(c)3 organization and began operations in 2010.[2]

Carney served as executive vice president of the Fund until it ceased operations at the end of 2012. Its purpose was to assist Haitians in developing sustainable paradigms for medium-term and long-term economic growth as well as creating jobs that stabilize its domestic economy. The Fund raised $54 million, and during its term, the Fund estimated that its programs sustained or created 7,350 jobs, trained 20,050 individuals, and had an additional positive impact on the conditions of more than 311,000 Haitians.[16]

Personal life[edit]

Carney was born to military parents in St. Joseph, Missouri and was raised and educated at military posts in the United States as well as abroad where his parents were stationed, including in Bad Tolz, Germany, Ft Bliss, Texas and Taipei, Taiwan. Carney speaks Khmer, Thai, and French fluently.[1]:04–07 He is a member of the board of the American Academy of Diplomacy.

Carney is married to a free-lance journalist, Victoria Butler. They have one daughter together. He and his wife are avid photographers and have published a photographic essay on their time in the Sudan.[17]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Kennedy, Charles Stuart (2002-06-24). "Interview with Amb. Timothy M. Carney". Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training. Retrieved 2014-04-07. 
  2. ^ a b Philips, Macon (2010-01-16). "The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund". The White House Official Website. Retrieved 2014-04-08. 
  3. ^ a b c Rose, David (2002-01). "The Osama Files: Al Qaeda Intelligence the U.S. Ignored". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2014-04-07. 
  4. ^ a b c Petterson, Donald K. (1999). "Inside Sudan: Political Islam, Conflict, and Catastrophe". Westview Press, Boulder, Colorado, p.71. Retrieved 2014-04-08. 
  5. ^ Miller, Judith (1996). "God Has Ninety-Nine Names". Simon & Schuster, New York, Note 43, p.501. Retrieved 2014-04-07. 
  6. ^ Weiner, Tim; Risen, James (1998-09-21). "Decision to strike factory in Sudan based on surmise inferred from evidence". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-04-07. 
  7. ^ Carney, Timothy; Ijaz, Mansoor (June 30, 2002). "Intelligence Failure? Let's Go Back to Sudan". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 1, 2008. 
  8. ^ Burns, Nicholas (1996-02-01). "Daily Press Briefing, US Department of State, U.S. Embassy Personnel Evacuation". Retrieved 2014-04-07. 
  9. ^ a b Gellman, Barton (2001-10-03). "U.S. Was Foiled Multiple Times in Efforts To Capture Bin Laden or Have Him Killed". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2014-04-07. 
  10. ^ "1996 CIA Memo to Sudanese Official". The Washington Post. 2001-10-03. Retrieved 2014-04-07. 
  11. ^ "Commending Ambassador Carney". Capitol Words. 2000-07-26. Retrieved 2014-04-09. 
  12. ^ "Statement on Appointment of Tim Carney as Coordinator for Economic Transition in Iraq". U.S. State Department Press Office. 2007-01-12. Retrieved 2014-04-11. 
  13. ^ "Afghanistan News". 2009-09-04. Retrieved 2014-04-11. 
  14. ^ "Profile: Haiti Democracy Project". History Commons. 2002-11-19. Retrieved 2014-04-08. 
  15. ^ Blanchet, Alice (2002-11-20). "Haiti Democracy Project". Retrieved 2014-04-08. 
  16. ^ "Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund, official website". 
  17. ^ Carney, Timothy; Butler, Victoria and Freeman, Michael (2005-10-17). "Sudan: The Land and the People, ISBN 029598533X". Marquand Books. Retrieved 2014-04-07. 
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
William L. Swing
United States Ambassador to Haiti
Succeeded by
Brian D. Curran
Preceded by
Donald K. Petterson
United States Ambassador to Sudan
Succeeded by
Robert E. Whitehead