Four U.S. officials cleared of breach of duty over Benghazi attack

Four U.S. officials cleared of breach of duty over Benghazi attack
# 21 August 2013 02:34 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. Four U.S. State Department officials have been cleared of breach of duty over a militant attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, the department said Tuesday, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

The four officials, placed on administrative leave following a report of the independent Benghazi Accountability Review Board, will be reassigned to different positions within the department, State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said at a daily briefing.

The State Department's own review of the Benghazi incident over the past months reaffirmed the findings of the 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.

Four Americans including the U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens were killed in the Benghazi attack, which became a hot-button issue in the 2012 presidential campaign as the Republicans criticized the Obama administration for offering conflicting accounts -- first as one ensuing from anti-America protests, and then as an "act of terror."

The Republicans have charged the State Department under the leadership of then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was grilled by Republican lawmakers at Congressional hearings early this year, for mishandling the attack and trying to cover up its security failures so to avoid hurting President Barack Obama's reelection campaign.

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