Just hours after the release of a report criticizing the State Department for its security failures, the Assistant Secretary of State in charge of security has resigned. Eric J. Boswell has been Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security and the Director of the Office of Foreign Missions since 2008, but will step down immediately following a report that called the security situation at the American consulate in Benghazi "grossly inadequate." Four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stephens, were killed when that compound was attacked in September.
In addition to Boswell, Deputy Assistant Secretary Charlene Lamb and a third, unnamed official in the Bureau of Near East Affairs will also leave their jobs.
Although the reported cited "certain senior State Department officials" for their lack of planning and leadership, no senior officials have explicitly stepped down or been fired because of the attack, although rumors persisted about certain high-profile personnel moves. When the commander of American forces in Africa, General Carter Ham, retired* in October, rumors circulated that he was fired for attempting to reinforce the Benghazi outpost on the night of the attack against the orders of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. (The Pentagon fiercely denied that story, saying the succession plan had been scheduled for months.) There were also conspiracies theories alleging that the Paula Broadwell affair was merely a convenient cover for the resignation of CIA Director David Petreaus, who was scheduled to testify before a closed door Congressional hearing on Benghazi just days later. (He testified anyway.) And, of course, Susan Rice remains in her job as ambassador to the United Nations, only because her comments on the Benghazi situation cost her the chance to be the next Secretary of State.
Boswell had served in foreign affairs for his entire career, joining the Foreign Service in 1972 after serving in the Army, and eventually rising to the rank of Ambassador as the Director of the Office of Foreign Missions. He previously held the position of Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security under President Bill Clinton, leaving in 1998, but eventually returned to that same job under George W. Bush in 2008. He was also previously the Assistant Deputy Director for Security in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
Correction: Gen. Carter Ham is not retired, but is being rotated out of his current position. His is still serving as commander of AFRICOM until his replacement can be confirmed by the Senate.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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