The Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said the State Department still hasn’t held any employees at fault for security lapses before the deadly attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.
“The bottom line is that over one year later, no State Department personnel have been held accountable for the department’s failure to protect the Benghazi consulate and U.S. personnel there, not one,” Rep. Ed Royce of California, the panel’s chairman, said at a hearing today.
The session was the first of three hearings over two days scheduled in the House as Republicans seek to renew attention on what they portray as a failure by the Obama administration to protect facilities in Benghazi despite warnings of terrorist threats before the attack on Sept. 11, 2012, that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.
While four State Department employees were placed on paid administrative leave, they were later reassigned to other posts. The department’s top administrative official said today that was sufficient.
“Four employees of the State Department were relieved of their senior positions,” Patrick Kennedy, undersecretary of state for management, testified at today’s hearing. “Accountability includes being relieved of your job and assigned to other positions.”
Royce responded that “reassignment just doesn’t cut it in terms of addressing that issue.”
A report issued this week by Representative Darrell Issa, the California Republican who heads the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said it’s unclear why Kennedy wasn’t held accountable by a review board appointed by then- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The panel proved “remarkably uncurious about the role of decisions made by officials above the four” who were singled out, according to Issa, who has scheduled a hearing with leaders of the review board for tomorrow.
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