A year after the attack of the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, Republicans want the State Department to fire someone.
That’s what they told the department’s top management official, Under Secretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy, at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Wednesday, accusing the State Department of failing to discipline employees after the attack.
Kennedy has come under criticism from Republicans, having signed a December 2011 “action memo” approving diplomatic operations in Benghazi, including how many security agents were to be stationed there.
In December, an internal review found that management deficiencies by senior officials in the Diplomatic Security and Near East Affairs bureaus left the Benghazi facility lacking in adequate security. Four employees were placed on administrative leave. When Secretary of State John Kerry took over for his predecessor, he reinstated them under different assignments.
For House Republicans, that’s not enough.
“No State Department personnel have been fired or even dismissed,” Chairman Ed Royce, R-Calif., said, decrying “no State Department official being held accountable in any meaningful way.”
“It is indeed pathetic that still no one has been held accountable,” former committee chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., told Kennedy. “This is unacceptable, and it is appalling.”
“People need to lose their jobs,” said Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C.
Facing such criticism from multiple GOP lawmakers on the committee, Kennedy said that removal from their previous posts was a serious consequence.
“They were relieved of their senior-level positions,” Kennedy said. “That is a serious disciplinary action.”
When pressed by Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., on whether the employees are being considered for high-level overseas positions, Kennedy said he is not aware that they are.
Republicans repeatedly asked Kennedy who it was that issued a “stand down” order for security support as the attack unfolded. Kennedy repeatedly said no such order was given.
“There was no stand-down order,” Kennedy told Ros-Lehtinen.