Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

#THE 51%

Breaking stereotypes

Read more

#TECH 24

Galaxy S5 v. HTC One (M8): Which is the right one for you?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

New PM Manuel Valls outlines priorities

Read more

FASHION

Jean-Marc Loubier, bags and shoes.

Read more

ENCORE!

Hip-hop musician Beat Assailant on mixing the sounds of the city

Read more

REVISITED

In Prijedor, survivors fight to keep memory alive

Read more

FOCUS

Bosnia: Hopes of change among disempowered citizens

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

¡Gracias, Gabo!

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

The Socialist rebellion grows

Read more

  • Algeria's ailing Bouteflika clinches fourth term amid fraud claims

    Read more

  • Ukraine separatists say ‘not bound’ by Geneva deal

    Read more

  • Abel Ferrara’s hotly awaited DSK film to premiere on web

    Read more

  • World honours Garcia Marquez’s magical literary legacy

    Read more

  • Analysis Ukraine: ‘One bloody incident could scupper Geneva deal’

    Read more

  • Top Hollande adviser resigns over conflict of interest accusation

    Read more

  • Police seek arrest warrant for South Korea ferry captain

    Read more

  • Indian election: Votes for sale

    Read more

  • West African Ebola outbreak caused by new strain of virus

    Read more

  • Astronomers discover Earth-like planet that could support life

    Read more

  • Video: Tensions remain high in Mariupol despite Geneva deal

    Read more

  • In Prijedor, survivors fight to keep memory alive

    Read more

  • Deadly avalanche strikes Everest in worst-ever disaster

    Read more

  • With a strong French presence, veterans and fresh faces, Cannes aims to please

    Read more

  • Russia and West agree on steps to ease Ukraine crisis

    Read more

  • Mob launches deadly attack on UN shelter for S. Sudan civilians

    Read more

  • Eurostar train mishap causes 'severe' delays

    Read more

  • Chelsea Clinton announces she's pregnant

    Read more

  • French troops free five aid workers kidnapped in Mali by Islamists

    Read more

  • In pictures: Iranian woman pardons son’s killer at the gallows

    Read more

  • After cup defeat, Spanish pundits read last rites for Barcelona

    Read more

  • India heads to polls in single largest day of voting

    Read more

  • Ukraine talks open in Geneva as Putin talks tough on TV

    Read more

  • Pro-Russian separatists killed in attack on Black Sea base

    Read more

  • Man executed in Texas for 2002 triple murder

    Read more

Americas

Senior US official quits over scathing Benghazi report

©

Video by Clovis CASALI

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2012-12-20

The US diplomatic security chief resigned and three other officials were suspended on Wednesday following the release of a damning report into the September 11 attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in which four Americans were killed.

The US 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 US 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 US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

The unclassified version of the report, which was released on Tuesday and is available online, 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.

Panel stops short of blaming Clinton

The Benghazi incident appeared likely to tarnish Clinton’s four-year tenure as secretary of state but the report did not fault her specifically and the officials who led the review stopped short of blaming her.

“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 panel’s chair, retired Ambassador Thomas Pickering, said it had determined that responsibility for security shortcomings in Benghazi belonged at levels lower than Clinton’s office.

“We fixed [responsibility] at the assistant secretary level, which is, in our view, the appropriate place to look for where the decision-making in fact takes place, where – if you like – the rubber hits the road,” Pickering said after closed-door meetings with congressional committees.

The panel’s report and the comments by its two lead authors suggested that Clinton, who accepted responsibility for the incident in a television interview about a month after the Benghazi attack, would not be held personally culpable.

But the popular secretary of state, who is due to step down in January, had yet to escape the scrutiny of her opponents, FRANCE 24’s Philip Crowther reported from Washington. “While no names are named in the report, everybody is thinking about Hillary Clinton,” he said. “A lot of people will suggest that the buck stops with her.”

Some Capitol Hill Republicans have already called for Clinton to testify as soon as possible.

“The report makes clear the massive failure of the State Department at all levels, including senior leadership, to take action to protect our government employees abroad,” Representative Mike Rogers, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said in a statement.

Senator Bob Corker, who will be the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when the new Congress is seated early next year, said Clinton should testify about Benghazi before her replacement is confirmed by the Senate.

Republicans have focused much of their firepower on US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, who appeared on TV talk shows after the attack and suggested it was the result of a spontaneous protest rather than a premeditated attack.

Rice, widely seen as President Barack Obama’s top pick to succeed Clinton, withdrew her name from consideration last week, becoming the first political casualty of the Benghazi affair.

Clinton had been expected to appear at an open hearing on Benghazi on Thursday, but is recuperating after suffering a concussion, dehydration and a stomach bug last week. She will instead be represented by her two top deputies.

Clinton said in a letter accompanying the review that she would adopt all of its recommendations, which include stepping up security staffing and requesting more money to fortify US facilities.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

Date created : 2012-12-20

  • EGYPT - LIBYA

    Egypt arrests suspect in Benghazi US consulate attack

    Read more

  • USA - LIBYA

    White House denies changing story on Benghazi

    Read more

  • USA

    Petraeus faces questions on Benghazi consulate attack

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)