White House Insists No One at Lower Level ‘Taking the Fall’ in Benghazi
(CNSNews.com) – Accountability on the Benghazi attack prompted White House Press Secretary Jay Carney to become testy with reporters Thursday, who asked if everyone who can be held accountable in light of a recent report on the matter has been.
“That report is extremely detailed, very critical of both the inadequacies in our security. Immediate accountability has been brought to bear with regard to individuals who are very senior,” Carney said of the Accountability Review Board report released this week.
The report criticized the State Department for failure in preventing a terrorist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens. The report also affirmed there was no “spontaneous demonstration” outside the compound as Obama administration officials first claimed.
Four State Department officials resigned from their office, the most senior being Eric Boswell, assistant secretary of State for diplomatic security, and Charlene Lame, deputy assistant secretary for embassy security.
During questions from reporters, Carney quipped, “They’re not taking the fall. Taking the fall suggests this was not accountability and responsibility. What are you suggesting?”
Ambassador Thomas Pickering and Adm. Mike Mullen co-chaired the five-member Accountability Review Board appointed by Secretary of State Clinton in September to investigate the attack.
During the Thursday press briefing, ABC News reporter Jake Tapper asked Carney if the president was satisfied with the level of accountability.
“By every measure the report has been assessed to be sharply critical and very pointed and clear eyed about problems that exist, problems that need to be fixed and the need for accountability,” Carney said. He added, “There has already been, in this very brief period of time, actions that demonstrate accountability is being upheld.”
Carney said the president “intends to make sure the administration and the secretary of state begin implementation of all these recommendations before the next secretary of state is in office.”
Later, reporter Major Garrett of CBS News asked if everyone who can be held accountable has. Carney referred the question to the State Department regarding any future actions.
Fox News reporter Ed Henry later followed by asking why no higher ups took responsibility and if these four individuals were taking the fall.
“They’re not taking the fall,” Carney said. “Taking the fall suggests this was not accountability and responsibility. What are you suggesting?”
Carney went on to assert the report, “demonstrates the president’s seriousness on this issue. A seriousness that is not limited to steps we need to take on security of our diplomats around the world but also steps we are continuing to take to make sure that individuals who took the lives of four brave Americans are brought to justice, and that effort continues.”