State Department Allows Back Four Officials Criticized for Benghazi Roles

Charles S. Clark, Government Executive
See more stories about...
Charles S. Clark, Government Executive
Aug. 22, 2013, 6:02 a.m.

WASH­ING­TON — Find­ing “no breach of duty,” the State De­part­ment on Tues­day an­nounced that four of­fi­cials cri­ti­cized for their role in the U.S. re­sponse to the Septem­ber 2012 ter­ror­ist at­tack that killed four Amer­ic­ans in Benghazi, Libya, are re­turn­ing from ad­min­is­trat­ive leave to un­spe­cified full-time work without dis­cip­lin­ary ac­tion.

State Deputy Spokes­wo­man Mar­ie Harf told re­port­ers that “four of­fi­cials who were placed on ad­min­is­trat­ive leave fol­low­ing the in­de­pend­ent Benghazi Ac­count­ab­il­ity Re­view Board’s re­port should be re­as­signed to dif­fer­ent po­s­i­tions with­in the de­part­ment.” She said de­part­ment’s own re­view over the last months re­af­firmed the find­ings of the out­side board “that there was no breach of duty by these four em­ploy­ees, and that coupled with our ef­forts to strengthen se­cur­ity, the right an­swer for these four was re­as­sign­ment.”

The four em­ploy­ees were not named, but news re­ports have named them as dip­lo­mat­ic Se­cur­ity Chief Eric Boswell, se­cur­ity of­fi­cials Char­lene Lamb and Scott Bul­trow­icz, and Deputy As­sist­ant Sec­ret­ary of State for the Maghreb Re­gion Ray­mond Max­well. Sec­ret­ary of State John Kerry fully re­viewed the de­cisions, the spokes­wo­man said.

The at­tack on the U.S. fa­cil­ity in Benghazi by still-un­named ter­ror­ists caused the deaths of Am­bas­sad­or Chris Stevens and three se­cur­ity pro­fes­sion­als, and con­tro­versy re­mains over how the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion weighed mil­it­ary op­tions and how it later presen­ted the tragedy.

Rep. Dar­rell Issa, R-Cal­if., chair­man of the House Over­sight and Gov­ern­ment Re­form Com­mit­tee, re­leased a state­ment Tues­day say­ing, “Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials re­peatedly prom­ised the fam­il­ies of vic­tims and the Amer­ic­an people that of­fi­cials re­spons­ible for se­cur­ity fail­ures would be held ac­count­able. In­stead of ac­count­ab­il­ity, the State De­part­ment offered a charade that in­cluded false re­ports of fir­ings and resig­na­tions and now ends in a game of mu­sic­al chairs where no one misses a single day on the State De­part­ment payroll.”

Sen. Bob Cork­er, R-Tenn., said, “I am highly dis­ap­poin­ted that no one at the State De­part­ment will be held ac­count­able in any real way over the fail­ures that led to the tragedy in Benghazi. I don’t un­der­stand how this ad­min­is­tra­tion will en­sure ac­count­ab­il­ity at one of our most vi­tal gov­ern­ment de­part­ments without dis­cip­lin­ing those who fail in their du­ties.”

Re­prin­ted with per­mis­sion from Gov­ern­ment Ex­ec­ut­ive. The ori­gin­al story can be found here.

What We're Following See More »
LEGACY PLAY
Sanders and Clinton Spar Over … President Obama
7 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

President Obama became a surprise topic of contention toward the end of the Democratic debate, as Hillary Clinton reminded viewers that Sanders had challenged the progressive bona fides of President Obama in 2011 and suggested that someone might challenge him from the left. “The kind of criticism that we’ve heard from Senator Sanders about our president I expect from Republicans, I do not expect from someone running for the Democratic nomination to succeed President Obama,” she said. “Madame Secretary, that is a low blow,” replied Sanders, before getting in another dig during his closing statement: “One of us ran against Barack Obama. I was not that candidate.”

THE 1%
Sanders’s Appeals to Minorities Still Filtered Through Wall Street Talk
9 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

It’s all about the 1% and Wall Street versus everyone else for Bernie Sanders—even when he’s talking about race relations. Like Hillary Clinton, he needs to appeal to African-American and Hispanic voters in coming states, but he insists on doing so through his lens of class warfare. When he got a question from the moderators about the plight of black America, he noted that during the great recession, African Americans “lost half their wealth,” and “instead of tax breaks for billionaires,” a Sanders presidency would deliver jobs for kids. On the very next question, he downplayed the role of race in inequality, saying, “It’s a racial issue, but it’s also a general economic issue.”

DIRECT APPEAL TO MINORITIES, WOMEN
Clinton Already Pivoting Her Messaging
9 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

It’s been said in just about every news story since New Hampshire: the primaries are headed to states where Hillary Clinton will do well among minority voters. Leaving nothing to chance, she underscored that point in her opening statement in the Milwaukee debate tonight, saying more needs to be done to help “African Americans who face discrimination in the job market” and immigrant families. She also made an explicit reference to “equal pay for women’s work.” Those boxes she’s checking are no coincidence: if she wins women, blacks and Hispanics, she wins the nomination.

THE QUESTION
How Many Jobs Would Be Lost Under Bernie Sanders’s Single-Payer System?
17 hours ago
THE ANSWER

More than 11 million, according to Manhattan Institute fellow Yevgeniy Feyman, writing in RealClearPolicy.

Source:
WEEKEND DATA DUMP
State to Release 550 More Clinton Emails on Saturday
17 hours ago
THE LATEST

Under pressure from a judge, the State Department will release about 550 of Hillary Clinton’s emails—“roughly 14 percent of the 3,700 remaining Clinton emails—on Saturday, in the middle of the Presidents Day holiday weekend.” All of the emails were supposed to have been released last month. Related: State subpoenaed the Clinton Foundation last year, which brings the total number of current Clinton investigations to four, says the Daily Caller.

Source:
×