Accountability in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 Benghazi attack? Not in the State Department:
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.”
Of course the public will be outraged. The statement spokeswoman Victoria Nuland crafted about the job status of the four individuals is undeniably misleading, particularly with regard to Boswell.
Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton “has accepted Eric Boswell’s decision to resign as assistant secretary for diplomatic security, effective immediately.” What Nuland omitted was that Boswell gave up only the presidential appointment as assistant secretary, not his other portfolios.
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.
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, weighs in:
“If these reports are correct, they're pathetic examples of yet another ruse about the tragedy of Benghazi," she said. "State Department officials proclaimed to the world that heads would roll after the deception related to the deceitful video excuse and the non existent spontaneous protest outside the consulate. Now we see that the discipline is a lie and all that has happened is the shuffling of the deck chairs. That will in no way change what the ARB found to be systemic failures of management and leadership in the State Department."