LOS ANGELES TIMES, VOICE OF AMERICA (USA), REUTERS
WASHINGTON – Four senior U.S. State Department officials resigned after an independent review board determined their operational responsibility for "grossly inadequate" security when Islamic militants killed four Americans at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, reports the Los Angeles Times.
Among them is Eric Boswell, the assistant secretary for diplomatic security. A State Department spokeswoman says Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has accepted "Eric Boswell's decision to resign."
Charlene Lamb, a deputy assistant secretary responsible for embassy security and another unnamed person in the diplomatic security bureau, officials said, also resigned.
Raymond Maxwell, a deputy assistant secretary who oversaw Libya, Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, is believed to be the fourth official. Resignation is a very rare move in the U.S. State Department, veteran diplomats told the Los Angeles Times.
According to Voice of America, these officials were held responsible by the independent inquiry for failing to provide security for the U.S. compound in Benghazi, which came under attack on September 11.
An unclassified version of the report, which was released on Tuesday, cited “leadership and management” deficiencies, poor coordination among officials and “real confusion” in Washington. However, the report did not blame Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The panel’s chair, retired Ambassador Thomas Pickering, said it had determined that responsibility for security shortcomings in Benghazi belonged at levels lower than her office, reports Reuters.
The assault carried out by a group of Islamist led to the death of Ambassador Christopher Stephens. He was the first U.S. ambassador killed in the line of duty since 1988. Three other American government personnel were killed in the assault.
The U.S. ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, was heavily criticized for initially describing the attack as a "spontaneous reaction" to protests near the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. At the time, protests were held all across the Muslim world to condemn the anti-Islam movieTheInnocence of Muslims.