House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) slammed the State Department on Wednesday for not firing anyone in relation to the terror attack in Benghazi.
“We’re here today because at the end of the day nobody was held accountable,” Royce told Patrick Kennedy, the under secretary of State for management. “Reassignment just doesn’t cut it in terms of addressing that issue.”
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) went one further, calling the decision “pathetic” and accusing the department of seeking to “shuffle the deck chairs.”
Kennedy is the first official to testify before Congress since the State Department’s decision last month to reassign four employees. An independent audit had recommended that two of the four employees “leave their jobs.”
Kennedy defended the decision, which has infuriated Republicans.
“I respectfully disagree,” he said. “Four employees were relieved of their senior positions. To me that is serious accountability.”
Kennedy’s testimony is but one of three Benghazi hearings this week as House Republicans ramp up their investigation following the first anniversary of the terror attack that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans last Sept. 11. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is under pressure to create a select committee to investigate security lapses that has the support of more than 170 members of his caucus.