Published December 26, 2012
A top Republican lawmaker chastised the State Department Wednesday following a report that a security chief said to have resigned in the wake of the Libya attack is still on the payroll, calling the response "pathetic."
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said she could not independently confirm a New York Post report claiming Eric Boswell, the assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security, remains at the department -- despite a State Department spokeswoman announcing Dec. 19 he was resigning his position. According to the Post, Boswell is merely "switching desks."
But the department has not denied the report. Ros-Lehtinen, who last week held a hearing on the Sept. 11 Benghazi attack, said it appears the department officials who were supposedly reprimanded "are more or less on vacation."
"If these reports are correct, they're pathetic examples of yet another ruse about the tragedy of Benghazi," she said. "State Department officials proclaimed to the world that heads would roll after the deception related to the deceitful video excuse and the non existent spontaneous protest outside the consulate. Now we see that the discipline is a lie and all that has happened is the shuffling of the deck chairs. That will in no way change what the ARB found to be systemic failures of management and leadership in the State Department."
Ros-Lehtinen was referring to the scathing report released last week on security lapses at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi in the run-up to the terror attack that killed four Americans. Four department officials including Boswell, on the heels of that report, supposedly faced disciplinary action. Charlene Lamb, the deputy assistant secretary responsible for embassy security, and two others were placed on administrative leave as Boswell announced his resignation.
The New York Post, though, reports that all four are expected to return.
Asked for comment, a State Department spokesman referred FoxNews.com to the statement originally put out on Dec. 19.
That statement said that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton "has accepted Eric Boswell's decision to resign as Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security, effective immediately," and that the three others were "relieved of their current duties."
The statement did not specifically claim Boswell was leaving the department -- at the same time, it made no mention of Boswell being reassigned to another desk.
The State Department-ordered investigation of the attack found that "systemic failures" had left the consulate facility in Libya inadequately protected.
The report, which was presented to Congress by an independent review board on Dec. 18, also concluded that no protest preceded the attack, despite earlier claims made by the Obama administration.