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State Department employee makes racist remarks on podcast, blog

The U.S. Government continues to employ a person who has a blog and podcast that targets Jews, people of color, LGBTQ+ and others.
State Department employee shares racist remarks on podcast
Posted at 6:57 PM, Aug 30, 2023

This is not a story about a secret blog by this State Department employee. It's a story about how the U.S. Government, despite numerous complaints, including from members of Congress, is still employing Fritz Berggren, a State Department employee, full time.

"Who's the enemy? It's the Jew, the Jew, the Jew, the Jew, the Jew." That is a direct quote from Berggren.

"The Jews worship Satan and they're Satan's own children," he said. "Understand who our enemies are. Don't apologize. Never, ever, ever apologize for being White. Never do that. You can't be racist or sexist or homophobic. Says who?"

He's been hosting his podcast and a blog called "Blood and Faith" for nearly six years, all while being employed by the federal government.

"I think there's reason for concern in terms of what that does to our country's image," said Ambassador Eric Rubin. He served abroad on behalf of the United States multiple times and until July ran the organization that represents U.S. Foreign Service officers worldwide. We sat down with him before he left for his first on camera interview about Berggren's inflammatory posts.

We asked Rubin if employees should be afraid for their safety.

"I hope not," he said. "I think our employees need some assurance that you know, somebody who thinks they should die basically, is what he's saying, is not working among them and potentially putting them at risk."

For nearly two years, Scripps News has been speaking to State Department employees about Berggren and reviewing hours of content on his blog. In hundreds of postings, we found he mostly targets Jews. He also degrades people of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community and the U.S. government.

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He called Jan. 6 a set-up and a "fed-op by federal law enforcement and state law enforcement with the help of the Speaker of the House."  

Berggren said Jews run America's foreign policy, and that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy "couldn't care less" about "the 100,000 White Christians that died in a war with Russia." Scripps News has learned these shocking views weren't confined to his blog posts.

A former colleague of Berggren's at the U.S. Embassy in Bahrain, where Berggren was once posted, told us Berggren expressed similar sentiments in his time at the Embassy. This former colleague agreed to talk with Scripps News on the condition of anonymity. 

"He would always display magazines, very, very pro-right magazines in his office," this employee explained. "I know that he was definitely making certain groups of people, especially in the housing community where he lived, he made people feel very uncomfortable."

Ambassador Rubin told us under State Department policy, foreign service officers are not supposed to share their political opinions in any public forum, including in their workplace or in a podcast.

"You cannot go out and speak publicly, you cannot contradict official policy," he said. "We can't work this way. There has to be a clear set of expectations."

But far from being shunned for his inflammatory words, the employee who agreed to speak to us anonymously said Berggren was treated with high regard within the Bahrain embassy.

This employee told Scripps News management was aware of comments he was making in a work setting, but preferred to keep the peace.

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This colleague says it was a derogatory comment Berggren made to a Black co-worker that triggered others in the Embassy to begin to look at his social media accounts. They soon found Berggren's blog — where he'd sometimes file his thoughts multiple times a day while he was serving in Bahrain.

According to a sworn affidavit from a pending EEOC investigation obtained by Scripps News, employees at the Bahrain Embassy then complained about Berggren.

Berggren's superior, Robert Doyle removed him after the posts came to light, but not before throwing him a virtual goodbye party. These details come from an ongoing EEOC investigation into Doyle's actions at the Embassy, including allegations he allowed Berggren's misconduct.

We reached out to both Fritz Berggren and Robert Doyle multiple times for an interview, but neither responded to our requests.

We asked Ambassador Rubin what the rules are for Foreign Service officers while serving abroad when it comes to exercising free speech on personal time but living on government property. Berggren posted during the workweek — but it is unclear if he posted during the workday.

Scripps News' Alex Miller: Is the line blurry in these situations?

Eric Rubin: I don't think so. We are on 24/7, representing our country, and our behavior, and our actions reflect on our country. We sent people home all the time, you know, basically saying, 'You have brought disrepute to our country.'

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While Berggren was removed from the Embassy staff, he was brought back by the State Department to the U.S.

Scripps News has learned he spent time working on special immigrant visas given to minority groups from Iraq and Afghanistan, the very people some of his podcasts attacked.

Today, Berggren remains a full-time employee of the State Department working in the Administration Bureau on internal-facing matters.

His continuing employment is a subject of major concern for many at the State Department. For the past three years, Jewish employees have registered complaints to senior department leaders. More than 70 members of Congress sent a letter to the State Department in 2021 and again in 2022 urging them to step in. The American Federation of Government Employees sent a letter in 2022 calling Berggren "a clear and present danger."

Ambassador Rubin says it's puzzling that Berggren has been able to keep his job. The State Department will not confirm to Scripps News whether his security clearance is still in place.

"I don't think a person who is running this blog and this podcast operation should be employed by the people of the United States to represent our country, I really don't, I think he, he may well have his rights as a free citizen of this country to say what he wants, but not to get paid for it by the taxpayers," he explained.

The State Department declined our request for an interview, but said in a statement, "The Department views the content on the blog as anti-Semitic, racist, homophobic, xenophobic, and otherwise abhorrent, discriminatory, and inconsistent with the values and mission of the U.S. Department of State." They told Scripps News the department would not comment on individual personnel matters beyond saying the allegations are being taken seriously.

For now, Fritz Berggren continues to post on his blog regularly and makes no attempt to hide his disgust for many of the people he is sworn to represent.

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