One of the four State Department employees, who was recently disciplined by their former boss Hillary Clinton, has broken his silence concerning Benghazi and has leveled some very big charges at the former Secretary of State. He is now indicating that the former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her staff were the ones that led the review of the Benghazi attacks by perpetrating the flaws in the process of the review, not an independent board.
The Daily Beast reports,
Raymond Maxwell was placed on forced “administrative leave” after the State Department’s own internal investigation, conducted by an Administrative Review Board (ARB) led by former State Department official Tom Pickering. Five months after he was told to clean out his desk and leave the building, Maxwell remains in professional and legal limbo, having been associated publicly with the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other American for reasons that remain unclear.
Maxwell, who served as deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs from August 2011 until his removal last December, following tours in Iraq and Syria, spoke publicly for the first time in an exclusive interview with The Daily Beast.
“The overall goal is to restore my honor,” said Maxwell, who has filed grievances regarding his treatment with the State Department’s Human Resources Bureau and the American Foreign Service Association, which represents the interests of foreign-service officers. The other three officials placed on leave were in the Diplomatic Security Bureau, leaving Maxwell as the only official in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA), which had responsibility for Libya, to lose his job.
“I had no involvement to any degree with decisions on security and the funding of security at our diplomatic mission in Benghazi,” he said.
While he was removed from his position on December 18, 2012, the day following the ARB’s report, no reason was given him and the others being place on administrative leave. Jne Psaki, the State Department spokeswoman, said, “”As a matter of policy, we don’t speak to specific personnel matters.”
However, now he is coming out and has stated that not only did he didn’t have anything to do with Benghazi, but that Clinton made him the Benghazi scapegoat.
“The overall goal is to restore my honor,” Maxwell told the Daily Beast.
Maxwell is the former deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs has filed legal grievances because of the treatment he received from the State Department, as well as the American Foreign Service Association. He is also the only official in the bureau of Near Eastern Affairs to lose his job over the September 11, 2012 attacks.
Although Maxwell had planned to retire in September 2012, he stayed on to assist the department in responding to the attacks in Benghazi, he says that he has never had an explanation given to him as to why he was put on leave and that he has never seen the classified sections of the ARB report.
“They just wanted me to go away but I wouldn’t just go away,” he said. “I knew Chris [Stevens]. Chris was a friend of mine.”
The Daily Beast continued to report that “He is seeking a restoration of his previous position, a public statement of apology from State, reimbursement for his legal fees, and an extension of his time in service to equal the time he has spent at home on administrative leave.”
“For any FSO being at work is the essence of everything and being deprived of that and being cast out was devastating,” he said.
Maxwell even said that a State Department official came to his home, following his removal and wanted him to sign a letter that acknowledged his removal and forfeiting his right to enter the State Department building. He refused, claiming that it would have been an admission of guilt.
However, the question lingers; who put Maxwell and the others on leave?
“The decision to place Maxwell on administrative leave was made by Clinton’s chief of staff Cheryl Mills, according to three State Department officials with direct knowledge of the events,” according to the report. “On the day after the unclassified version of the ARB’s report was released in December, Mills called Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Beth Jones and directed her to have Maxwell leave his job immediately.”
Josh Rogin then points out why Mr. Maxwell, of all people, was removed following the release of the ARB report. He writes, “One person who reviewed the classified portion of the ARB report told The Daily Beast that it called out Maxwell for the specific infraction of not reading his daily classified briefings, something that person said Maxwell admitted to the ARB panel during his interview.”
The person spoken of went on to say, “The crime that he is being punished for is not reading his intel.”
Maxwell denies that charge stating that he has not been “officially counseled” about any wrongdoing on his part. However, he lands a serious blow to Clinton and her staff claiming that they were the ones heading the review of the Benghazi attack, not an independent review board.
“He believes that Clinton’s staff, not the ARB, was in charge of the review of the attack that took place during her watch,” the report said.
Maxwell said, “The flaws in the process were perpetrated by the political leadership at State with the complicity of the senior career leadership. They should be called to account.”
Is anyone surprised by this? I’m not. I’m just wondering how Hillary and company are planning on silencing this guy now.
Tim Brown is the Editor of Freedom Outpost and a regular contributor to The D.C. Clothesline.