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US chief leaves post over Benghazi

US State Department Chief resigns from his post over an official inquiry into the Benghazi attack.

A picture dated June 7, 2012 shows US ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens (L), shaking hands with Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) chairman Mustafa Abdel Jalil (R) after presenting his credentials during a meeting in Tripoli. Stevens, and three officials were killed when a mob attacked the US consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi, the interior ministry said on September 12, 2012. Picture: AFP.

WASHINGTON -The US State Department said on Wednesday its security chief had resigned from his post and three other officials had been relieved of their duties following a scathing official inquiry into the September 11 attack on the US mission in Benghazi.

Eric Boswell has resigned effective immediately as assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a terse statement. A second official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Boswell had not left the department entirely and remained a career official.

Nuland said that Boswell, and the three other officials, had all been put on administrative leave "pending further action."

An official panel that investigated the incident concluded that the Benghazi mission was completely unprepared to deal with the attack, which killed US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

The unclassified version of the report, which was released on Tuesday, cited "leadership and management" deficiencies, poor coordination among officials and "real confusion" in Washington and in the field over who had the authority to make decisions on policy and security concerns.

"The ARB identified the performance of four officials, three in the Bureau of the Diplomatic Security and one in the Bureau of (Near Eastern) Affairs," Nuland said in her statement, referring to the panel known as an Accountability Review Board.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accepted Boswell's decision to resign effective immediately, the spokeswoman said.

Earlier, a US official who spoke on condition of anonymity said Boswell, one of his deputies, Charlene Lamb, and a third unnamed official has been asked to resign. The Associated Press first reported that three officials had resigned.

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