The families of the four Americans who were killed in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11 still don’t have answers to all of their questions as to how it was possible for our government to have left one of its diplomats so under-protected and exposed in a known hostile environment.
To add insult to injury, now they and the rest of the country are discovering that those who were supposedly “punished” for their lapses in duty weren’t really “punished” at all.
In fact, The New York Post reported exclusively the day after Christmas, “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 highest-ranking of those officials who was supposedly smacked down for incompetence, Assistant Secretary of State Eric Boswell, has not “resigned” from government service, as Americans were previously led to believe. Rather, he just switched desks, the paper said, quoting its sources.
Moreover, the other three officials were just placed on administrative leave; they are expected back at some point.
The four career diplomatic corps personnel were made out to be scapegoats, taking the fall for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who, as head of the department, was more responsible than anyone else below her, and President Barack Obama who, as president, is ultimately responsible.
Officially, the four were allegedly reprimanded for leaving the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi vulnerable to attack due to “grossly inadequate” security.
A source close to the Post said State Department leaders “didn’t come clean about Benghazi and now they’re not coming clean about these staff changes,” adding, the “public would be outraged over this.”
The scapegoats who weren’t
U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the attack, which the White House and other administration officials initially blamed on a spontaneous demonstration sparked by a U.S.-produced anti-Islam video that was actually made seven months earlier. The Obama administration said the demonstration got out of hand, leading to violence that left the four Americans dead and the embassy aflame.
But that version of events was dismissed by an Accountability Review Board headed up by retired Ambassador Thomas Pickering.
In response to questions from the paper about the pending reinstatements, the State Department only parroted the lie it has already put out. Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Clinton “has accepted Eric Boswell’s decision to resign as assistant secretary for diplomatic security, effective immediately.” Nuland conveniently left out the fact that Boswell only gave up the presidential appointment as an assistant secretary – not his other portfolios.
During the review process, the other officials – Deputy Assistant Secretaries Charlene Lamb and Raymond Maxwell, and a third who has not been identified – were shown to have “performance inadequacies,” but not “willful misconduct,” according to Pickering, so they would not face any disciplinary action.
Everyone knew attack was preplanned
Some members of Congress were indignant.
House Foreign Affairs Committee head Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., told the paper that 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,” she said.
Before his death Stevens had service twice in Libya: once as deputy chief of mission (2007-2009) and as Special Representative to the National Transition Council (March 2011-November 2011) during the Libyan revolution.
Weeks after his death, Obama – as well as Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations – continued to blame the video for the attack, even though subsequent reports revealed that they and other administration officials knew the night of the attack that it had been pre-planned by insurgents – an assertion echoed by none other than Mohammed el-Megarif, Libya’s president.