The four State Department officials who were supposed to have resigned their positions over the mismanagement of the Benghazi Consulate are still on the State Department payroll. Assistant Secretary of State Eric Boswell did not leave the government, as was claimed by the Obama Administration last week. He is being reassigned to a new desk, while the other three officials in question are on administrative leave and will be returning to work in the coming days.
Critics of the Obama Administration’s handling of the Benghazi affair have been highly skeptical of the State Department’s ability to conduct a fair and honest investigation of the murders of Ambassador Stevens, Tyrone Woods, Glen Doherty, and Sean Smith. The four Americans died in a terrorist attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012 that left the consulate in ruins and many highly classified, top secret documents in the hands of terrorists.
Playing words games in Washington is par for the course and that appears to be exactly what has transpired in the case of the so-called resignations. When Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton accepted Eric Boswell’s resignation as Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security, she neglected to inform the American people that he was only resigning his Presidential appointment as Assistant Secretary and he will be retaining all his other State Department portfolios.
Eric Boswell, Deputy Assistant Secretaries Charlene Lamb and Raymond Maxwell, and a fourth State Department official who is still unnamed, were thought to be the sacrificial lambs who would lose their jobs over the gross incompetence in providing security for the Benghazi Consulate. Instead, the four will be back at work and many important questions remain unanswered.
No one has been brought to task for the misleading public statements by the Obama Administration that blamed the murder of four American Diplomats on a make believe movie and ignored the fact that terrorists had planned the attack months in advance. Its been almost four months since the tragedy in Libya and it is certainly beginning to look like yet another scandal will be swept under the rug. Lives were lost and not one person in a leadership position will be held responsible.
Certainly the failure to place responsibility where it belongs is not for any lack of evidence. There have been reams of emails and cables released in which various officials attached to the Libyan Consulate literally pleaded with Ms. Lamb to provide adequate security for the vulnerable Benghazi consulate; only to be repeatedly rebuffed. One official testified that he was actually ordered to stop asking for more security.
A highly disturbing security assessment, filed after a bomb attack at the consulate on June 6, 2012, made it clear that al-Qaeda claimed credit for the attack and stressed the dangers to US personnel:
“The risk of U.S. mission personnel, private U.S. citizens, and businesspersons encountering an isolating event as a result of militia or political violence is ‘HIGH. The government of Libya does not yet have the ability to effectively respond to and manage the rising criminal and militia related violence, which could result in an isolating event.”
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) spoke to the NY Post about the latest political gamesmanship by Administration officials:
“This is yet another ruse about the tragedy of Benghazi. State Department officials proclaimed . . . that heads would roll . . . Now we see that the discipline is a lie and all that has happened is the shuffling of the deck chairs.”
Darrell Issa, Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voiced his serious concerns for the safety of US Diplomats who continue to serve in the troubled region:
“There was a clear disconnect between what security officials on the ground felt they needed and what officials in Washington would approve. Reports that senior State Department officials told security personnel in Libya to not even make certain security requests are especially troubling. Many American diplomats still serve in dangerous areas and it is important for the Committee to determine if the State Department is taking appropriate steps to address systemic deficiencies.”