State Department security chief leaves post over Benghazi

Thu Dec 20, 2012 5:36am EST
 

By Andrew Quinn and Arshad Mohammed

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. State Department said on Wednesday its security chief had resigned from his post and three other officials had been relieved of their duties following a scathing official inquiry into the September 11 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi.

Eric Boswell has resigned effective immediately as assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a terse statement. A second official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Boswell had not left the department entirely and remained a career official.

Nuland said that Boswell, and the three other officials, had all been put on administrative leave "pending further action."

An official panel that investigated the incident concluded that the Benghazi mission was completely unprepared to deal with the attack, which killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

The unclassified version of the report, which was released on Tuesday, cited "leadership and management" deficiencies, poor coordination among officials and "real confusion" in Washington and in the field over who had the authority to make decisions on policy and security concerns.

"The ARB identified the performance of four officials, three in the Bureau of the Diplomatic Security and one in the Bureau of (Near Eastern) Affairs," Nuland said in her statement, referring to the panel known as an Accountability Review Board.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accepted Boswell's decision to resign effective immediately, the spokeswoman said.

Earlier, a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity said Boswell, one of his deputies, Charlene Lamb, and a third unnamed official has been asked to resign. The Associated Press first reported that three officials had resigned.   Continued...

 
The U.S. Consulate in Benghazi is seen in flames during a protest by an armed group said to have been protesting a film being produced in the United States in this September 11, 2012 file photo. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said December 19, 2012, she accepted the findings of an independent panel that faulted the State Department over the deadly September attack and had ordered widespread changes to bolster US. Diplomatic security overseas. REUTERS/Esam Al-Fetori/Files