Officials resign as Benghazi panel faults State Department for deaths
Washington, DC, United States (4E) – Three officials of the State Department have resigned as a panel investigating the Benghazi consulate attack released Tuesday its report blaming the agency for not providing enough security to the diplomatic outpost.
Department officials said Wednesday that assistant secretary of diplomatic security Eric Boswell, deputy assistant secretary responsible of state for international programs Charlene Lamb, and a Near East Affairs bureau official resigned.
They resigned despite findings by the independent Accountability Review Board headed by retired Ambassador Thomas Pickering and former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen that no government employee committed misconduct or was negligent. The panel report also did not recommend disciplinary action on any individual.
The 39-page report cited a security plan for the consulate that was grossly inadequate to deal with the Sept. 11 attack that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
Boswell and Lamb were responsible for the security of the Benghazi mission with the latter reportedly denying requests for additional diplomatic security to Libya. Pickering said in the report that decision making takes place at the assistant secretary level.
Pickering and Mullen briefed members of the House Foreign Affairs and Senate Foreign Relations committees on their findings at Capitol Hill on Wednesday.
They also sent a copy of the report to State Secretary Hillary Clinton, who accepted all 24 recommendations, including strengthening security, adding fire-safety precautions and improving intelligence collection in high-risk areas. The consulate apparently used unskilled and unarmed Libyan militias as guards, who fled their post when armed attackers came.
The report put to rest the issue on the conflicting pronouncements of White House as to the cause of the attack saying there was no anti-U.S. protest prior to the burning of the consulate by terrorists.