- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 28, 2013

The chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee is faulting a flawed bureaucratic system for the State Department’s failure to blame top U.S. officials for ignoring pleas for more security before the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya.

Rep. Edward R. Royce, California Republican, claims that the panels that investigate major diplomatic mistakes are vulnerable to pressure from the secretary of state, who by law appoints four of the five members of any Accountability Review Board.

“This [review board] failed to assess the roles of the so-called seventh floor State Department officials,” Mr. Royce said, referring to the top floor of the State Department that houses the office of the secretary and key aides.

The board that investigated the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi blamed assistant and deputy assistant secretaries for ignoring security appeals from U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, who was killed in the attack along with three other Americans. The board placed no responsibility on Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who claimed she was unaware of requests for more security in Benghazi, which had deteriorated into extremist violence after the overthrow of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.


Mr. Royce introduced a bill last week that would break up the influence of the State Department on the review boards. Under his measure, the secretary of state would appoint only two members. The chief U.S. inspector-general would name two, and the director of National Intelligence would name the fifth.

The bill also would give the inspector-general responsibility to provide staff assistance to the board, which currently relies on State Department officials.

DIPLOMATIC TRAFFIC

Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:

Monday

Jin Canrong of China’s Renmin University and Zhang Chuanjie of the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy. They discuss North Korea in a briefing at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Tuesday

Muratbek Akhmatov of the Kazakhstan Ministry of Economy and Budget Planning of Kazakhstan; Dulguun Baasandavaa of the Mongolian Business Development Association; Dzhura Babaev, CEO of Cokey Central Asia and Caucasus Ltd. investment group; Nazira Beishenalieva, chairwoman of the CJSC Bank of Asia; Mansur Bustoni of the Central Eurasian Leadership Alliance; Sergey Minasyan, deputy director of political studies at Armenia’s Caucasus Institute; Nargiz Nasrullayeva-Muduroglu, executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Azerbaijan; Abdul Nafi Olomi, a political consultant from Afghanistan; Semetei Omurgazy, owner and CEO of the Bishkek Fashion Retail Group in Kyrgyzstan; and Ravshan Sobirzoda, an economic adviser to the U.S. Embassy in Tajikistan. They discuss investment opportunities in Central Asia in a forum at the School for Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

Cecilia Malmstrom, the European commissioner for home affairs. She discusses cyberthreats to the United States and European Union in a briefing at George Washington University.

Raul M. Gutierrez Muguerza, director-general of the Mexican steel-producing firm, the Deacero Group. He participates in a panel discussion on President Obama’s trip to Mexico and Costa Rica in May.

Hakubun Shimomura, Japan’s minister of education, culture, sports, and science and technology; and Ichita Yamamoto, Japan’s minister of state for science and technology policy. They address the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

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