The newly-appointed CEO of the US Agency for Global Media cleaned house on Wednesday evening, firing the heads of five organizations the agency oversees, including Radio Free Europe. They are expected to be replaced with Donald Trump administration loyalists.
Michael Pack, who was confirmed the Senate just two weeks ago, fired Bay Fang at Radio Free Asia, Jamie Fly at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Alberto M. Fernandez at Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Emilio Vazquez at the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, and Libby Liu at the Open Technology Fund.
In addition, Pack disbanded a bipartisan board that oversees those five organizations, the New York Times reported. He replaced them with Trump political appointees, the Times says, and installed himself as chairman.
According to the Times, Fang will remain executive editor at Radio Free Asia due to a condition in her contract when she was appointed in November. Vazquez, who served as interim director at OC, will also remain with that group, though they could be terminated by whomever Pack appoints to replace them as heads of their respective groups.
In a statement provided to CNN, which first reported the firings, Democratic Senator Bob Menendez, the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, condemned the firings. “As feared, Michael Pack has confirmed he is on a political mission to destroy the USAGM’s independence and undermine its historic role,” he said. “The wholesale firing of the Agency’s network heads, and disbanding of corporate boards to install President Trump’s political allies is an egregious breach of this organization’s history and mission from which it may never recover.
According to its official website, the US Agency for Global Media’s mission “is to inform, engage, and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy.”