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Press Release Published: Jul 31, 2013

Seven Months Later, State Department Still Hesitating to Make Final Determinations on Employees Faulted by ARB

WASHINGTON – House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) today asked the State Department to explain why the agency is still struggling to make status decisions on four employees faulted for their conduct by the Benghazi Accountability Review Board (ARB). More than seven months after those officials were faulted by the ARB, those individuals remain on paid administrative leave. In his letter to Secretary John Kerry requesting a briefing, Chairman Issa expresses concern about why the State Department continues to hesitate on making decisions on the future of the four employees faulted by the ARB.  Absent internal doubts about the strength of the ARB’s conclusions, concerns about how information from ongoing investigations into the Benghazi attacks may yet alter determination, or any reservations about granting faulted individuals a forum to rebut accusations, the Department’s continued delay of final determinations about the employment status of the four individuals faulted by the ARB remains puzzling.

Chairman Issa states in the letter: “The Committee has certainly taken notice that while the Department hesitates to reach final determinations on the status of the four officials identified by the ARB, other officials with similar degrees of responsibility for security in Benghazi and the Department’s flawed response to the attacks have been promoted.  For example, Elizabeth Dibble was promoted to be the Deputy Chief of Mission in London.  Victoria Nuland was promoted to be the Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of European Affairs. These promotions—which occurred while the employment status of the officials faulted by the ARB remains in limbo—create the appearance that former Secretary Hillary Clinton’s decision to announce action against the individuals named in the ARB report was more of a public relations strategy than a measured response to a tragedy. “

The letter requests that the State Department provide a briefing on why it continues to delay final decisions on the four employees placed on paid Administrative leave and why they were initially told that their leave would only be temporary before they were given new assignments.

Read the letter to Kerry here.