Nearly a year after the terrorist attack on a woefully unprepared American consulate in Benghazi took the lives of four Americans, including the first Ambassdor killed in the line of duty since the Carter administration, only four low-to-midlevel State Department employees have been held accountable for the fatal failure. Actually, make that … zero. Secretary of State John Kerry has determined that none of the four deserve disciplinary action, Josh Rogin (a very busy man today) reports for The Daily Beast, and they have all been ordered to return to work (via Instapundit):
Secretary of State John Kerry has determined that the four State Department officials placed on administrative leave by Hillary Clinton after the terrorist attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi do not deserve any formal disciplinary action and has asked them to come back to work at the State Department starting Tuesday.
Last December, Clinton’s staff told four mid-level officials to clean out their desks and hand in their badges after the release of the report of its own internal investigation into the Benghazi attack, compiled by the Administrative Review Board led by former State Department official Tom Pickering and former Joint Chiefs Chairman Ret. Adm. Mike Mullen. Those four officials have been in legal and professional limbo, not fired but unable to return to their jobs, for eight months… until today.
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Raymond Maxwell, the only official from the State Department’s Near Eastern Affairs bureau to lose his job over the Benghazi attack, told The Daily Beast Monday he received a memo from the State Department’s human resources department informing him his administrative leave status has been lifted and he should report for duty Tuesday morning.
One could read this a couple of different ways. The disciplinary actions came after the release of the Accountability Review Board report that worked very hard to keep only lower-level careerists accountable for the disaster. Kerry, on his arrival at Foggy Bottom, conducted a review of the ARB’s findings against his own assessment of the State Department. If the moves are part of a decision to reopen the issues of failure and incompetence on Benghazi, then restoring the four to duty may be a good idea.
That’s not what this looks like, though, at least according to Rogin’s sources. None of the four will return to their previous positions, but have been reassigned away from security issues, and supposedly their previous service was a mitigating factor. However, another factor may have been the demand for hearings from the four disciplined officials, especially Maxwell:
“No explanation, no briefing, just come back to work. So I will go in tomorrow,” Maxwell said.
Maxwell previously told The Daily Beast that the reasons for his administrative leave designation had never been explained to him. He contended that he had little role in Libya policy and no involvement whatsoever in the events leading up to the Benghazi attack.
“The overall goal is to restore my honor,” Maxwell had said.
Restoring the four to duty eliminates the need for hearings over their status — hearings that could easily embarrass the State Department and the Accountability Review Board. From this report, it seems clear that Kerry has no interest in getting to the bottom of the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans who tried to defend him and our consulate. In the end, no one at all will be accountable for the epic failure, and then the serial lies told in its aftermath, unless Congress imposes it from Capitol Hill.