The U.S. Consulate in Benghazi is seen in flames during a protest by an armed group
Three State Department officials resigned under pressure Wednesday, less than a day after a damning report blamed management failures for a lack of security at the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, where militants killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans on September 11.
An administration official said Eric Boswell, the assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security, Charlene Lamb, the deputy assistant secretary responsible for embassy security, and an unnamed official with the Bureau of Near East Affairs, had stepped down. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to discuss personnel matters publicly.
The report said poor leadership in both bureaus left the post underprotected, reports The Associated Press.
“Systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels within two bureaus” resulted in a security level that was “inadequate for Benghazi and grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place,” according to the report released late Tuesday by the independent Accountability Review Board.
The board was led by Thomas Pickering, a retired ambassador, and Mike Mullen, a retired admiral and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They testified in closed sessions before frustrated lawmakers on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
“My impression is the State Department clearly failed the Boy Scout motto of be prepared,” said Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo.
“They failed to anticipate what was coming because of how bad the security risk already was there. … They failed to connect the dots. They didn’t have adequate security leading up to the attack and once the attack occurred, the security was woefully inadequate.”
Rep. Adam Schiff, a member of the House intelligence committee, said security was “plainly inadequate, intelligence collection needs to be improved, and our reliance on local militias was sorely misplaced.” Schiff, D-Calif., added that “these are not mistakes we can afford to make again.”