A State Department security chief has just resigned and 3 other officials could lose their jobs following the release of scathing report about safety lapses at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi in the run-up to the terror attack that killed four Americans.
But still Obama gets away scott free.
Late Wednesday the Department confirmed to the AP that Eric Boswell, the assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security, stepped down under pressure after the release of the report Tuesday night.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland also said three others — two in the Bureau of Diplomatic Security and one in the Bureau of Near East Asia Affairs — have been “relieved of their current duties” and placed on administrative leave “pending further action.” That contrasted with the AP’s earlier report that at least three officials had resigned, including Charlene Lamb, the deputy assistant secretary responsible for embassy security.
The State Department-ordered investigation of the Sept. 11 attack on the consulate in Benghazi, Libya, concluded that “systemic failures” left the facility inadequately protected.
The independent review board’s report also said that no protest preceded the deadly attack, as the Obama administration first told the public.
Before mid January, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is scheduled to testify on Capitol Hill about Benghazi. She was supposed to testify Thursday, but is recovering from a stomach virus and a concussion she received when she passed out.
The Accountability Review Board’s report came after more than three months of intense debate in Washington over who was behind the attack, what motivated the attackers and why U.S. authorities weren’t able to stop the violence, which took the lives of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others.
Despite clear and present threats, the review board found the security staffing at the Benghazi consulate was “short-term, transitory” and “relatively inexperienced” — and ultimately “inadequate.”
It also found “a pervasive realization among personnel who served in Benghazi that the Special Mission was not a high priority for Washington when it came to security-related requests, especially those relating to staffing.”
Retired Adm. Mike Mullen said “We did conclude that certain State Department bureau level senior officials in critical levels of authority and responsibility in Washington demonstrated a lack of leadership and management ability appropriate for senior ranks in their responses to security concerns posed by the special mission.”
Although much of the focus is on the State Department’s preparedness, the review board didn’t let Libyans off the hook. Some of the security was provided by a militia, and there were “some troubling indicators of its reliability in the months and weeks preceding the September attacks,” the report said.
The review found little evidence that the guards provided by the militia “offered any meaningful defense” of the compound.
Among the board’s recommendations for the State Department are to strengthen its security detail in high-risk posts, to build more-secure facilities, to request the support of additional Marines and to step up security training.