State Dept. officials resign over critical Benghazi report

Updated
<p>The U.S. Consulate in Benghazi in flames, September 11, 2012.</p>

The U.S. Consulate in Benghazi in flames, September 11, 2012.

Esam Al-Fetori/Reuters/Files

Three State Department officials are resigning following the release of a critical report detailing how the department made key missteps that led to the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

U.S. officials told NBC that Eric Boswell, the assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, was stepping down, in addition to his deputy, Charlene Lamb and an unnamed official from the State’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs.

The resignations come shortly after the release of a report by the independent Accountability Review Board.

It found that “systemic failures” and “management deficits” by top U.S. officials were at fault for the inadequate security at the consulate, where four Americans were killed, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.

The report singled out the Bureau of Diplomatic Security and the Bureau of Near East Affairs, in addition to concluding the attack was carried out by terrorists—not by protesters demonstrating against an anti-Islamic film.

“There was no protest prior to the attacks, which were unanticipated in their scale and intensity,” the review board report, led by Ambassador Thomas Pickering and former Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen, said.

The Obama administration came under the harsh criticism for initially blaming the attack on the demonstrators. That led Republican lawmakers to call for a probe and dashed U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice’s potential nomination to be secretary of state.

For more on the resignations, tune into Hardball at 5 and 7 p.m. ET. We’ll have Andrea Mitchell, NBC’s chief foreign affairs correspondent, and Michael O’Hanlon of the Brookings Institution to weigh in.

State Dept. officials resign over critical Benghazi report

Updated