Benghazi fallout: US suspends four officials

Three State Department officials resigned under pressure on Thursday, less than a day after a damning report blamed management failures.

Washington: Ripples over the Benghazi attack grew bigger as a top US State Department official resigned and three others were disciplined after an independent probe uncovered major security failures and mismanagement.

The failures pointed out by the independent accountability review board came as clamour grew in the Congress to recall Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other top officials to testify to questions why security was "grossly inadequate" at the American mission.

Clinton was forced by ill health to pull out of this week`s hearing. But members of the Senate and House Foreign Committee want to put her on the dock. The committee will question Deputy Secretary of State William Burns today.

The review board, whose report was sent to the Congress on Tuesday, has been highly critical of the some of the functions of the State Department, in particular those related to security, which it said resulted in the security lapse leading to the terrorist attack on the Benghazi Consulate.

Eric Boswell, the Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security, resigned, effective immediately after the report.

The other three officials who have been placed on administrative leave include Deputy Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security Charlene Lamb.

"Frankly, the State Department had not given Benghazi the security, both physical and personnel resources, it needed," the Accountability Review Board chairman Tom Pickering, told reporters at a State Department news conference.

"We are recommending that the State Department undertake an urgent review to determine the proper balance between acceptable risk and mission tasks and needs in high-risk and in high-threat areas," he said.


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