Benghazi penalties are bogus
By JOSH MARGOLIN
Last Updated: 1:46 AM, December 26, 2012
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.”
US Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the Sept. 11 attack, originally blamed on a spontaneous demonstration against a US-made anti-Islam video that got out of hand.
That version was dismissed by an Accountability Review Board headed by retired Ambassador Thomas Pickering.
In response to questions from The Post, the State Department would only reissue the carefully crafted statement put out last week.
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.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) told The Post 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.”
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