Report: Three State Department officials resign over Benghazi

Three State Department officials, including the diplomatic security chief and his deputy, have resigned over the Sept. 11 attack in Benghazi, Libya, The Associated Press is reporting.

The news follows an independent panel's scathing report to Congress on Tuesday that found “systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies” at “senior levels” were to blame for “grossly inadequate” security force at the U.S. mission on the night of the attack.

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Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans died in the attack.

The report didn't find reason for disciplinary action against any officials but singled out the bureaus of Diplomatic Security and Near Eastern Affairs for criticism, saying its leaders demonstrated a “lack of proactive leadership and management ability in their responses to security concerns” in Benghazi.

The Associated Press reports that Eric Boswell, the assistant secretary of State for diplomatic security, and Charlene Lamb, the deputy assistant secretary responsible for embassy security, “stepped down under pressure after the release of the report.” 

Lamb had become a lightning rod for criticism after she testified at a House hearing in October that the consulate had enough security resources given what officials detected as known threats to the U.S. facility.

During the hearing, Lamb also testified that Boswell had signed off on her decision to deny additional security resources requested by Stevens and his staff on the ground in Libya.

House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said at the time that Lamb’s comment “somehow doesn't seem to ring true to the American people,” because there had already been an attack on the consulate earlier this year and the U.S. should have been on high-alert given that it was the 11th anniversary of 9/11.

A third employee who works for the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs has also stepped down but has not yet been identified, the AP reports.

— Updated at 12:30 p.m.