US security chief Eric Boswell has quit and three others are suspended after a damning report into a deadly attack on a US mission in Benghazi.
The state department said diplomatic security chief Eric Boswell resigned and three other unnamed officials had been put on administrative leave.
US envoy to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other officials were killed in the attack on September 11.
An internal report said “grossly inadequate” security led to the deaths.
However, the report did not suggest disciplinary action be taken against any individuals.
“The Accountability Review Board identified the performance of four officials, three in the Bureau of the Diplomatic Security and one in the Bureau of Near East Asia Affairs,” state department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a statement.
“The secretary has accepted Eric Boswell’s decision to resign… The other three individuals have been relieved of their current duties.”
US media have named one of Eric Boswell’s deputies, Charlene Lamb, and Raymond Maxwell, deputy assistant secretary for the Maghreb, among those relieved of their duties.
US security chief Eric Boswell has quit and three others are suspended after a damning report into a deadly attack on a US mission in Benghazi
Christopher Stevens died of smoke inhalation when he was trapped alone in the burning building after armed men had stormed the compound.
Days after the attack, US ambassador to the UN Susan Rice said the attack seemed to have developed out of protests over an anti-Islamic film.
But later intelligence reports suggested it was a planned attack by Islamist gunmen.
Susan Rice was forced to pull out of the race to be the next secretary of state after being subjected to widespread criticism.
The board’s report found “a lack of transparency, responsiveness, and leadership” among certain senior state department officials.
But the review found no “reasonable cause” that any specific individuals had “engaged in misconduct or willfully ignored” their responsibilities.
It also said there had been “no immediate, specific” intelligence about the September 11 attack or threats to the consulate.
The probe concluded that the US personnel had “performed with courage and readiness to risk their lives to protect their colleagues in a near-impossible situation”.
But the Benghazi mission had nevertheless been hampered by a lack of resources.
Its reliance on armed “but poorly skilled” local militiamen and contract guards was “misplaced”, the report said.
In a letter to Congress, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she accepted all 29 of the recommendations put forward in the report.
Hillary Clinton outlined some steps the agency would take, including sending hundreds of US Marines guards to missions abroad and assigning a state department official to oversee “high-threat posts”.
In addition, Hillary Clinton said the state department would request more funding from Congress to make improvements to security.
Benghazi report: Key findings
- There were “systematic failures at senior levels” within two bureaus of the state department, but no individual official ignored their duties
- Reliance on armed “but poorly skilled” local militiamen and contract guards was “misplaced”
- US personnel had “performed with courage and readiness to risk their lives to protect their colleagues in a near-impossible situation”
- There was “no immediate, specific” intelligence about the September 11 attack or threats to the consulate
- The Libyan government’s response to the attack was “profoundly lacking”
The White House did not heavily alter talking points about the attacks on US diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, an official said on Saturday.
“If there were adjustments made to them within the intelligence community, that’s common, and that’s something they would have done themselves,” Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser, told reporters.
“The only edit … made by the White House was the factual edit as to how to refer to the facility.”
After a closed-door hearing with former CIA Director David Petraeus on Friday, Republican Representative Peter King said that unclassified talking points prepared by the CIA for use by lawmakers about the September 11 attack originally pointed specifically to al Qaeda involvement. Peter King said they were edited before being cleared for use.
Ben Rhodes said the White House, and also the State Department, changed references to a “conflict” at diplomatic facilities, “because the conflict in Benghazi was not formally a conflict. Other than that we worked off the points that were provided by the intelligence community, so I can’t speak to any other edits that may have been made”.
After David Petraeus hearing on Friday, it emerged that unclassified talking points prepared by the CIA for use by lawmakers about Benghazi attack originally pointed specifically to al Qaeda involvement
The assault on the US mission and nearby CIA annex in Benghazi has turned into a flash point between Democratic President Barack Obama and Republicans.
Republicans accuse the White House and in particular the US ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, of misleading the public just after the attack by suggesting the assault was a spontaneous act instead of a planned terrorist operation. The Obama administration denies misleading anyone and says it discussed information about the Benghazi tragedy as it came in.
“What I can say is those points, and what Susan said, indicated that we believed extremists were involved in this attack,” Ben Rhodes said.
David Petraeus has told US Congress that the CIA believed almost immediately that al-Qaeda-linked terrorists were behind the September 11th attacks in Benghazi, according to a leading Republican congressman.
Representative Peter King of New York, a member of the House Intelligence Committee that David Petraeus briefed, said that the former general left a “different impression” today than he had when he testified on Capitol Hill three days after the attack.
Now, Peter King said, David Petraeus insisted that the “original talking points prepared by the CIA were different than the final ones put out” and used by Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, on Sunday talk shows to say – incorrectly – that the attack was sparked by anger over an anti-Islam video made in California.
“The original talking points were much more specific about al-Qaeda involvement and yet the final ones just said <<indications of extremists>> even though it was clearly evident to the CIA that there was al-Qaeda involvement,” Peter King said.
The former CIA director was giving classified testimony and was accompanied by a CIA analyst. Peter King said David Petraeus did not speak under oath.
David Petraeus arrived early Friday for closed hearings on Capitol Hill as lawmakers seek details from the retired general about the September 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed the U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.
Peter King said that there was only brief mention by David Petraeus of his affair with biographer Paula Broadwell, which triggered his shock resignation last Friday.
“He was asked at the start did that have any impact on his testimony, he said no…10 seconds into it, that was off to the side.”
David Petraeus has told US Congress that the CIA believed almost immediately that al-Qaeda-linked terrorists were behind the September 11th attacks in Benghazi
The New York congressman said that David Petraeus had explained that the talking points ultimately used by Susan Rice had been altered by inputs by a number of other government agencies after the CIA had made its assessment.
“He said that it goes though a long process, an interagency process and when they came back it was taken out.”
The House Intelligence Committee, which was hearing from David Petraeus before he briefed the Senate Intelligence Committee, met in a secure room several floors below the main area of the Capitol Visitors Centre, where tourists gather when they are visiting Congress.
Republicans and some Democrats have demanded an explanation of why the Obama administration initially described the attack at Benghazi as a protest gone awry, leading to the deaths of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, diplomat Sean Smith and CIA contractors and former Navy SEALS Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods.
Five days after attack, the administration sent Susan Rice onto the Sunday news shows to describe what precipitated the assault. She relied on initial intelligence talking points that subsequently proved incorrect.
Deputy CIA Director Mike Morell told the House committee on Thursday that Susan Rice was provided with an unclassified version of events at the American mission, according to Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California, a committee member.
The assessment concluded that a spontaneous protest over anti-Islam video, The Innocence of Muslims, had evolved into an attack on the American consulate, a description that Rice presented in the television interviews.
David Petraeus hoped that by testifying he would put an end to some of the wilder rumors following his resignation over reveal of his affair with Paula Broadwell.
“He did not like the conspiracies going around that somehow he had something to hide on Benghazi,” said retired Colonel Peter Mansoor, who served as David Petraeus’ executive officer in Iraq.
“I think his offer to testify crossed with the Congress’ request to him to testify. But anyway he looks forward to that.”