Rep. Darrell Issa asked the State Department on Wednesday to explain the status of four employees who were put on paid leave as a result of the investigation into the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that killed four Americans last Sept. 11.
In a letter Issa wrote to Secretary of State John Kerry, the Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee said that the workers were put on leave more than seven months ago, Politico reports.
Little has been done in the interim to determine their status, Issa said.
“Witnesses interviewed by the committee — including officials named by the ARB and their supervisors — are uncertain how and why the Secretary settled on paid administrative leave as appropriate course of action,” Issa wrote to Kerry. He was referring to the Accountability Review Board.
“It is also unclear how the State Department will resolve the employment status of the officials on leave.”
A report released by the board in December listed several middle-management State Department employees as having not completed their duties and compromised safety, Politico reports.
The inquiry began shortly after Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans died in the Benghazi attacks.
The investigation led then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton put the four employees on leave, Politico reports.
The report, by former Ambassador Thomas Pickering and Admiral Mike Mullen, has since been attacked by Capitol Hill Republicans. They have contended that not enough State employees were interviewed and that those who were did not receive a chance to read their testimony.
In his letter, Issa questioned whether the decision to place those employees on leave “was more a public relations strategy than a measured response to a tragedy.”
The California congressman also noted that other State employees that the committee had determined were part of the security preparations in the attack have since been promoted, Politico reports.
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