POLITICS: PennAve

Darrell Issa: State Department wrong to reinstate employees suspended after Benghazi attack

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House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., has chastised Secretary of State John Kerry for clearing four State Department officials in connection with security failures surrounding last year’s terrorist attack on a diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya.

Issa characterized the State Department’s investigation of the employees as a sham and a slap in the face to the families of the four Americans killed in the Sept. 11, 2012, attack.

“Obama administration officials repeatedly promised the families of victims and the American people that officials responsible for security failures would be held accountable,” he said in a prepared statement Tuesday. ”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."

Issa said an investigation by his committee shows the State Department failed to interview any of the four employees or their supervisors ” to either substantiate or challenge allegations.” The Republican vowed to expand his own probe of the matter.

The Daily Beast reported late Monday that Kerry had decided that the four officials — who had been placed on administrative in December by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — don’t deserve formal disciplinary action and were allowed to return to work Tuesday.

The employees’ suspensions followed an internal investigation into the Benghazi attack by the Administrative Review Board, which was led by former State Department official Tom Pickering and former Joint Chiefs Chairman Ret. Adm. Mike Mullen.

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