Benghazi scandal: Four State Department officials cleared, returned to duty
The only four State Department workers investigated for breach of duty in the Benghazi scandal were declared not responsible for the lack of security at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that was attacked on Sept. 11, 2012, according to a press briefing in Washington, D.C, on Tuesday.
The attack on the U.S. consulate left four Americans dead, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens. In the 11 months since that terrorist attack there remain many questions regarding the culpability of members of President Barack Obama's administration and even more questions about Obama's actions during the almost eight-hours of torture, death and destruction of Americans and American property, according to former military intelligence officer and New York police detective, Michael Snopes.
"Watching the briefing made me quite angry. While the president and his minions claim they are being transparent, we're still waiting for answers to very important questions. Questions like where the heck was the president while all the mayhem and death went down? Or, who gave the 'stand down' order to men who wished to rush to the scene and rescue the Americans in Benghazi?" asked Snopes.
The four State Department workers who were placed on administrative leave -- with full pay -- will be reassigned to different positions within the department, State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said during the Tuesday briefing.
The State Department's review of the Benghazi incident reaffirms the findings of Benghazi Accountability Review Board that failed to hold the four employees responsible for the consulate attack, she said.
"In its report, the review board did raise concerns about some of the steps and actions of the four officials, who were in charge of security of foreign missions, but stopping short of determining that there has been a breach of duty," Harf said to reporters covering the U.S. Department of State.
The Benghazi attack became an issue in the 2012 presidential race between Obama and his opponent Mitt Romney. Republicans criticized the Obama administration for offering conflicting accounts. First they claimed the attack was a reaction to a little-known movie trailer that angered Muslims. Then Obama and his minions conceded that the incident was a terrorist act.
"GOP lawmakers have charged -- and continue to charge -- the State Department under the leadership of then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was interrogated by Republican lawmakers at Congressional hearings earlier this year, for failing to prepare for such an attack and then trying to cover up State Department security failures so as to avoid costing President Barack Obama his reelection," according to political strategist Mike Baker.
During the long-anticipated testimony by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee regarding the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Senate Democrats repeatedly referred to a report that blames the FBI, CIA and other intelligence agencies -- but not the White House -- for the misinformation allegedly contained in talking points that explained the details of the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, according to an Examiner news story.
While the Republican lawmakers continue their investigations and hearings, many observers believe the GOP is not serious about holding anyone accountable.
"If these so-called conservative lawmakers wished to get to the bottom of this obvious cover up, they need to push for a special prosecutor to be appointed by the Attorney General. Failing that, the Speaker of the House John Boehner should demand a select committee be formed with subpoena-power and a professional investigative staff to probe and expose those involved in the cover up," said Baker.
But former NYPD detective, Mike Snopes, has a different idea on how to get to the bottom of the Benghazi cover up.
"They [the House and Senate] should assemble a special team of New York detectives and give them free reign to investigate everyone involved including Secretary Hillary 'what difference does it make' Clinton. That will reveal who gave the so-called stand down order and where the heck was the Commander in Chief during the murders of American citizens," said Snopes.