Zero accountability: token Benghazi scapegoats reinstated

Zero accountability: token Benghazi scapegoats reinstated

The delirious farce of the Obama Administration’s deadly blunder and cover-up in Benghazi is now complete, as the Daily Beast reports that new Secretary of State John Kerry has reinstated the four State Department employees selected for symbolic token punishment by his predecessor, Hillary Clinton:

Last December, Clinton’s staff told four mid-level officials to clean out their desks and hand in their badges after the release of the report of its own internal investigation into the Benghazi attack, compiled by the Administrative Review Board led by former State Department official Tom Pickering and former Joint Chiefs Chairman Ret. Adm. Mike Mullen. Those four officials have been in legal and professional limbo, not fired but unable to return to their jobs, for eight months… until today.

Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Raymond Maxwell, the only official from the State Department’s Near Eastern Affairs bureau to lose his job over the Benghazi attack, told The Daily Beast Monday he received a memo from the State Department’s human resources department informing him his administrative leave status has been lifted and he should report for duty Tuesday morning.

“No explanation, no briefing, just come back to work. So I will go in tomorrow,” Maxwell said. 

Maxwell says he was never told exactly why he was being placed on administrative leave.  Congressional investigators saw him as a scapegoat, with Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) of the House Oversight National Security Subcommittee charging that the State Department “tried to blame everyone but hold no one responsible, except for some of the lower-level people who were not in control of the situation.”

“Instead of accountability, the State Department offered a charade that included false reports of firings and resignations and now ends in a game of musical chairs where no one misses a single day on the State Department payroll.  It is now clear that the personnel actions taken by the Department in response to the Benghazi terrorist attacks was more of a public relations strategy than a measured response to a failure in leadership,” added House Oversight chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA), as quoted by NBC News.

NBC also brings us a statement from the State Department, laden with gobbledygook about “paradigm shifting:”

“As soon as he came in to the department, Secretary Kerry wanted to invest the time to review the ARB’s findings and match those against his own on-the-job findings about security,” a Senior State Department official said in a statement. “As part of this process, he asked his senior team to complete a thorough review of the independent Benghazi Accountability Review Board’s findings, and after consideration he reaffirmed its findings that no employee breached their duty or should be fired but rather that some should be reassigned.”

The official added: “He studied their careers and studied the facts. In order to implement the ARB and to continue to turn the page and shift the paradigm inside the department, the four employees who were put on administrative leave last December pending further review, will be reassigned inside the State Department.”

You know whose paradigms really got shifted?  The people Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton left to die in Benghazi.  They were sent into a terrorist hot zone without adequate protection, and zero contingency plans in case of emergency.  A veil of secrecy and lies was constructed around their deaths while bullets and mortar shells were still flying.  Their pages have been rather decisively turned.

We often joke about the tendency of the media to describe everything Obama does as “historic,” but this really is historic: absolute zero accountability, plus one hundred percent opacity, for a series of poor decisions and lies that led to four American deaths, including the first U.S. ambassador killed in the line of duty since the Carter years.  The State Department has now completed a leisurely year of meditation and concluded that no one did anything wrong.  They hung four mid-level State employees out to dry for a while, to make it look like they were doing something; they have now concluded it’s safe to take them off the line, fold them, and tuck them back into the drawers of the bureaucracy.

This is how you erase history.  Soon they’ll be saying Benghazi didn’t actually happen at all.

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