State Department accountability over Benghazi worse than thought


Upon release of the Accountability Review Board’s (ARB) report on what happened in Benghazi, it was learned that the group singled out no individuals for discipline – the bureaucracy itself was identified as the party most responsible. There were, however, four State Department employees who reportedly resigned in the wake of the report.

Aside from the fact that none of the four individuals who allegedly ‘resigned’ were individuals who claimed to accept responsibility (Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton), it appears they haven’t really resigned at all.

Via the New York Post:

The four officials supposedly out of jobs because of their blunders in the run-up to the deadly Benghazi terror attack remain on the State Department payroll — and will all be back to work soon, The Post has learned.

The highest-ranking official caught up in the scandal, Assistant Secretary of State Eric Boswell, has not “resigned” from government service, as officials said last week. He is just switching desks. And the other three are simply on administrative leave and are expected back.

The four were made out to be sacrificial lambs in the wake of a scathing report issued last week that found that the US compound in Benghazi, Libya, was left vulnerable to attack because of “grossly inadequate” security.

State Department leaders “didn’t come clean about Benghazi and now they’re not coming clean about these staff changes,” a source close to the situation told The Post., adding, the “public would be outraged over this.”

Some might remember an exchange between Rep. Sandy Adams (R-FL) and Deputy Assistant Secretary Charlene Lamb at a House Oversight Committee in October. At the time, Adams pressed Lamb for the names of those who had the authority to deny requests for security in Benghazi. Lamb named both Eric Boswell and a man named Scott Bultrowicz. For some reason, all of the video excerpts from that hearing – once posted to the Oversight committee’s YouTube channel, now get re-directed to an unrelated Darrell Issa speech but here is the exchange from another source (the relevant portion occurs within the first minute):

Ok, so Lamb admitted to Adams that the former didn’t have sole authority to deny security. She pointed up the ladder to Boswell and Bultrowicz. The next logical question is: Did they have sole authority? If yes, then the ARB report would have erred by not naming either man as being responsible for security being withheld. If no, then someone above them had that sole authority.

The Post article only names three of the four individuals that were singled out for non-disciplinary discipline / resignation / re-assignments. They are:

  1. Eric Boswell
  2. Charlene Lamb
  3. Raymond Maxwell
Via the Post:

The other officials — Deputy Assistant Secretaries Charlene Lamb and Raymond Maxwell, and a third who has not been identified — were found to have shown “performance inadequacies” but not “willful misconduct,” Pickering said, so they would not face discipline.

So who is the fourth individual? Could it be Scott Bultrowicz?



State Dept. to take hot seat over Libya security

WASHINGTON The first Congressional hearing to focus on the fatal attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi will be held by the House Oversight Committee this Wednesday. Under Secretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy will be the most senior U.S. official to testify before Congress’s highest ranking investigative body.

He will appear at the State Department’s behest alongside two individuals who were specifically requested by the Committee; Deputy Assistant Director for International Programs Charlene Lamb, and Eric Nordstrom, the former State Department Regional Security Officer for Libya. All three have been asked to testify by the Committee which is chaired by Representative Darrell Issa (R-Calif.).

Congress will begin to piece together the timeline of events that led up to the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. mission, which left U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other American personnel dead. The testimony by  Kennedy will be the first direct rebuttal of recent allegations made by House Oversight Committee Chairman Issa and other officials that the State Department ignored and denied requests for additional security in Libya.

The most recent accusations come from Lt. Col. Andy Wood, the former head of a U.S. Special Forces “Site Security Team” in Libya, who tells CBS News correspondent Sharyl Attkisson he and many other senior staff at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, “felt we needed more, not less” security personnel in the country, but were told “to do with less. For what reasons, I don’t know.”

State Department officials tell CBS News that Wood was not part of the security assessment in Benghazi and that he was stationed in Tripoli, and thus unfamiliar with the local situation in the east of the country. Wood, however, says some of the members of his own team and additional personnel from the State Department’s elite security detail – two teams which left Libya in August – would have traveled to Benghazi with Ambassador Stevens had they still been in the country. He did not say how many additional security agents might have been deployed for the Ambassador’s trip to the city, but he tells Attkisson that he has wondered if it might have made a difference on the night of the attack.

A key question that lawmakers will ask is whether the U.S. mission in Benghazi should even have been allowed to exist in a country where the central government does not have full control over internal security. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has addressed the security in Benghazi only twice in public remarks. When asked by CBS News whether the consulate had adequate security levels at the time of the attack, the secretary described the security detail as “robust.”

Read more at CBS News