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May 21, 2013

The Only Person In State Department Bureau That Oversaw Libya Who Has Been Punished For Benghazi Had Nothing To Do With It

Meet Raymond Maxwell, the man who served as deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs at the time of the Benghazi attack.

Raymond Maxwell was placed on forced “administrative leave” after the State Department’s own internal investigation, conducted by an Administrative Review Board (ARB) led by former State Department official Tom Pickering. Five months after he was told to clean out his desk and leave the building, Maxwell remains in professional and legal limbo, having been associated publicly with the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other American for reasons that remain unclear.

...

The decision to place Maxwell on administrative leave was made by Clinton’s chief of staff Cheryl Mills, according to three State Department officials with direct knowledge of the events. On the day after the unclassified version of the ARB’s report was released in December, Mills called Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Beth Jones and directed her to have Maxwell leave his job immediately.

"Cheryl Mills directed me to remove you immediately from the [deputy assistant secretary] position," Jones told Maxwell, according to Maxwell.

The decision to remove Maxwell and not Jones seems to conflict with the finding of the ARB that responsibility for the security failures leading up to the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi should fall on more senior officials.

“We fixed [the responsibility] 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," Pickering said when releasing the ARB report.

So what happened to the Maxwell's superior (the above mentioned Assistant Secretary of State for Near Easter Affairs, the level at which the State Departments on review said was where responsibility should be fixed? Nothing. But her top deputy did get promoted to the number two spot in London. If that's punishment, then sign me up.

Maxwell and others at State say he had nothing to do with security decisions and that he's essentially taking the fall for Hillary. In a wonderfully Clintonian twist, the forced leave isn't considered a punishment so Maxwell can't avail himself of internal State Department disciplinary mechanisms to try and clear his name.

Lovely stuff, huh?

In related news, State released a statement on how they will implement the findings of the Accountability Review Board. Short version...more bureaucracy.

1. The Department must strengthen security for personnel and platforms beyond traditional reliance on host government security support in high risk, high threat posts.

The Department established a High Threat Board to review our presence at High Threat, High Risk posts; the Board will review these posts every 6 months.

We created a Deputy Assistant Secretary for High Threat Posts in the Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS), who is responsible for ensuring that such posts receive the focused attention they need.

2. The Board recommends that the Department re-examine DS organization and management, with a particular emphasis on span of control for security policy planning for all overseas U.S. diplomatic facilities.

The Department established a six-person panel to thoroughly review DS’s organization and management structure; the panel has developed draft findings.

There are more items but all in the same line. They are acting as if the issue is the information on the situation either wasn't available or didn't get to the right people. This is simply not what happened.

People on the ground had an accurate read on the situation, they made repeated requests for additional security resources and the people in decision making positions simply said, "no".

All this "action" list does is give you a preview of the people who will be blamed the next time this happens. Unless this new Deputy Assistant Secretary has control of the security budget and the power to assign resources, whoever is dumb enough to take this gig will simply be the next Raymond Maxwell.


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posted by DrewM. at 10:16 AM

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