Fifteen members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, including Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.), want Secretary of State John Kerry to detail what personnel actions have been taken at his department in response to the Benghazi attack.
Four State Department employees were cited by the Accountability Review Board (ARB) for displaying “leadership and management deficiencies” that led to the inadequate security at the consular facility.
Royce noted to Kerry that the committee has repeated asked the State Department about the status of those employees.
“Initial reports indicated that these officials were ‘relieved of their duties,’ thus implying their employment had been terminated. However, by all accounts, these individuals have instead been placed on administrative leave and may or may not be returning to work. Moreover, at least one of these individuals has stated that he has still not been informed of why he was removed from his position within the Department, or been allowed to view the ARB’s conclusions with respect to his job performance,” Royce and the other members wrote. “The Department’s handling of these matters is of great concern to the Committee, other Members of Congress, and the public.”
Kerry told the committee on April 17 that he would soon be weighing in on an “internal review and analysis” of these employees’ performance.
“Now that over one month has passed since your testimony, and over a full five months have passed since the ARB issued its report, we expect an immediate update on this process, and confirmation as to whether the referenced personnel are still employed by the Department,” the lawmakers wrote.
“Additionally, if these officials are still employed but on administrative leave, please describe what steps the Department has taken to resolve the issue of their employment status. Please also provide a detailed account of any action taken by these officials to challenge the findings of the ARB report, including their basis for doing so. Lastly, if any of these individuals are no longer employed by the Department, please provide a detailed explanation of the circumstances leading to the termination of their employment.”