State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki revealed on Thursday that the employees who were relieved of duty as a result of the Benghazi review board report are still drawing paychecks five months after their change of status. Psaki had no specifics on whether the employees were drawing paychecks from home or if they were required to come into work every day and responsible for different duties. “It’s a long process,” Psaki said in response to a question about the extended arrangement funded by taxpayers.
QUESTION: Jen, there is another thing that doesn’t have to do with money here in the Menendez bill, and it’s part of the ARB, which says it will authorize disciplinary action in cases of unsatisfactory leadership by senior officials related to a security incident that does not presently exist – in other words, in the future. Does that have any retroactive effect on the people who are – I believe there are four who are kind of in this limbo of not being fired and yet not really working and still drawing pay.
MS. PSAKI: Well, you’d have to ask Senator Menendez the specifics of his legislation. But let me give you kind of an update or just tell you kind of – give you a response on your specific question. One thing, just so everybody is aware, the Accountability Review Board’s recommendation on this specific issue said that unsatisfactory leadership performance by senior officials in relation to the security incident under review should be a potential basis for discipline recommendations by future ARBs – excuse me – and would recommend a revision of Department regulations or amendment to the relevant statute to this end. So that was actually in the ARB. In terms of these specific individuals you asked about, Secretary Clinton, as you know, began an administrative process to review the status of the four individuals placed on administrative leave. That review process continues. Secretary Kerry has been briefed regularly and will be making a decision soon. No, I can’t define what soon means, just to preempt a question. And decisions will be made about the status of these employees. None of these individuals – and I believe Patrick touched on this, so let me just reiterate for those of you who were not here – none of these individuals identified by the Accountability Review Board are in the positions held prior to the report’s release and at the time of the attack.
QUESTION: But they’re still all getting a salary five months after they were put on administrative leave, right?
MS. PSAKI: Well, this process, Brad, can take some time. That’s why the Secretary asked for regular updates and we’ll be making a decision to –
QUESTION: Are they still coming to the building, or do they get to go to, like, the beach?
MS. PSAKI: I don’t have anything specific about their locations.
QUESTION: Well, no, I mean, do they have to show up to work? Or can they draw this salary from home?
MS. PSAKI: I’m not familiar. I don’t have in front of me their specific roles. I’ll take a look and see if there’s anything more specific I can get back to you.