WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Three senior U.S. State Department officials were asked to resign after an official inquiry harshly criticized their offices for failing to provide adequate security at the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, before it came under attack in September, a U.S. official said on Wednesday.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Eric Boswell, the assistant secretary for diplomatic security; one of his deputies, Charlene Lamb; and an unnamed official in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs were asked to step down because of the inquiry panel’s report, which did not faultSecretary of State Hillary Clinton in connection with the attack.
State Department officials declined to comment on the matter, saying it was a personnel issue. The Associated Press first reported that the three officials had resigned.
An unclassified version of the report released Tuesday by the State Department concluded that the mission was completely unprepared to deal with a September 11 attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.
“We did conclude that certain State Department bureau-level senior officials in critical positions of authority and responsibility in Washington demonstrated a lack of leadership and management ability appropriate for senior ranks,” retired Admiral Michael Mullen, one of the leaders of the inquiry, told reporters on Wednesday.
The inquiry’s chair, retired Ambassador Thomas Pickering, said the panel had determined that responsibility for security shortcomings in Benghazi belonged at levels lower than Clinton’s office. (Read more here.)