Fox's Outrage Over Reinstatement Of State Department Officials Ignores Findings Of Benghazi Review
Blog ››› ››› ELLIE SANDMEYER
Fox News criticized Secretary of State John Kerry for inconsistency in his decision to reinstate four State Department officials who were suspended in the wake of the September 2012 attacks on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, but ignored findings from the State Department's Accountability Review Board that supported Kerry's determination that no employees' actions were grounds for termination.
On August 19, The Daily Beast reported that Kerry decided to reinstate the four State Department employees who had been put on administrative leave in the aftermath of the Benghazi attacks. The decision came after a review by Kerry and some of his top aides confirmed the State Department's Accountability Review Board's (ARB) finding that "no employee breached their duty or should be fired." Though the suspended officials would not face formal punishment, the review did not find them "blameless," and in accordance with ARB recommendations, all four will be reassigned.
On the August 20 edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade cited the initial ARB report before suggesting that the move to reinstate the suspended employees ignores its results [emphasis added]:
ANNA KOOIMAN [co-host]: Again, mid-level, not the top. We haven't seen any arrests from any of this. And these people, yes, they're back on the job, which is good for them, they feel, I imagine. But they have been publicly humiliated and been targeted and identified as being responsible in some ways over the last eight months. And is this fair to them?
KILMEADE: Well Tom Pickering and Admiral Mullen evidently put together a report the administration accepted and embraced, and they concluded that these mid-level guys didn't tell the people above them. All right. So they were relieved temporarily. Told to hand in their badges. Then they got word yesterday, come to work on Tuesday. So who is right? Was it a bad report, bad conclusions put together by Mullen and Pickering, or are they being ignored now by the the Secretary of State, Kerry, which means that he has a better inquiry, better than the one that was commissioned by the administration?
If Kilmeade had taken the time to review the ARB report, he would have known that it "did not find reasonable cause to determine that any individual U.S. government employee breached his or her duty." In fact, Kerry's review "reaffirmed" the ARB's findings and largely supported the Department's eventual decision to assign some blame but not proceed with formal disciplinary action. From the ARB:
The Board found that certain senior State Department officials within two bureaus demonstrated a lack of proactive leadership and management ability in their responses to security concerns posed by Special Mission Benghazi, given the deteriorating threat environment and the lack of reliable host government protection. However, the Board did not find reasonable cause to determine that any individual U.S. government employee breached his or her duty.