State: Employees criticized on Benghazi 'served honorably'

The State Department said Tuesday that the four employees who were singled out for criticism over the terror attack in Benghazi, Libya, had "served honorably" during their careers and will be reassigned to new posts.

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Secretary of State John Kerry has reviewed the employees' case files and determined they should not be fired for security failings that contributed to the deaths of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three Americans Sept. 11, 2012. The decision has outraged Republicans.

“What we've done over these past few months is go back and look at all the facts and also take into account the totality of these four employees' overall careers at the State Department,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said Tuesday. “And what we found in that review is that … they have served honorably, often in very tough places. And that was all taken into account.”

The four officials are Eric Boswell, the former assistant secretary of State for diplomatic security; Scott Bultrowicz, the former principal deputy assistant secretary for diplomatic security and director of the Diplomatic Security Service; Charlene Lamb, the former deputy assistant secretary responsible for embassy security; and Raymond Maxwell, the deputy assistant secretary of State who oversaw Libya and the other Maghreb nations.

They were placed on administrative leave last December after an independent State Department review faulted the agency for security lapses and “systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies.”  

The Accountability Review Board, however, did not recommend anybody be fired because it “did not find reasonable cause to determine that any individual U.S. government employee breached his or her duty.”

House Oversight panel Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) on Tuesday called the department's personnel actions “more of a public relations strategy than a measured response to a failure in leadership.” 

“The Oversight Committee will expand its investigation of the Benghazi terrorist attack to include how a supposed ‘Accountability Review Board’ investigation resulted in a decision by Secretary Kerry not to pursue any accountability from anyone,” he said.

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