Benghazi Report Chairman: Buck Stops with Assistant Secretary of State

Benghazi Report Chairman: Buck Stops with Assistant Secretary of State

Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security Eric Boswell resigned on Wednesday. Three other lower level State Department officials, including Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Charlene Lamb, have been “relieved of their duties” and placed on administrative leave. These personnel moves are directly related to the release on Tuesday of the State Department’s Accountability Review Board report that placed blame for the September 11, 2012 Benghazi mission attack squarely on their shoulders.

In a statement made to CNN, the board’s chairman pointed specifically at Boswell:

Veteran diplomat Thomas Pickering, who was chairman of the review board, said the members placed primary blame ‘at the assistant secretary level, which is in our view the appropriate place to look, where the decision making, in fact, takes place. Where, if you like, the rubber hits the road.’

Yet the scapegoated Boswell, a forty year State Department veteran who held the same assistant secretary position during the Clinton Administration, was not responsible for the foolish decision to ban Marines from Libya during the year prior to the Benghazi attack. That decision was made by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when she signed off on the State Department Rules of Engagement for Libya, according to Colonel David Hunt, a military expert and FoxNews contributor.

The board’s report released yesterday specifically recommended that Marines be assigned to protect our diplomatic facilities in Libya, but failed to address why they had been banned from Libya prior to the Benghazi attack and who made the decision to ban them.

On Thursday, Colonel Hunt told Breitbart News:

We have to understand that there is no independent action allowed in our government. The decision to have a lowered American profile was initiated at the White House and approved by the National Security Council. The details of that decision, like not having Marines stationed in Libya, were decided by the Secretary of State. Both of these decisions and our unwillingness to put American Forces into harms way to save American lives are the exact cause and effect to the failures and loss of life on September 11th 2012. Of course the terrorists are responsible for the killings that day. However, we should have and could have stopped them…..period.

In the State Department chain of authority, Assistant Secretary Boswell reported to Under Secretary for Management Patrick Kennedy, who reports to Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, who in turn reports to Secretary of State Clinton. In light of Secretary Clinton’s reported health issues (she is said to have recently sustained a concussion–at home, with no apparent witnesses), Burns is the Acting Secretary of State and testified to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in her place on Thursday on the State Department’s response to the Benghazi report.

In October, Secretary of State Clinton told the Wall Street Journal she “take[s] responsibility” for the American security failures during the Benghazi attack. Only in Washington can the Secretary of State’s “responsibility” end with the resignation of an assistant secretary of state three levels below her in the chain of command.