Hillary's scapegoat for Benghazi speaks

You may not have heard of Raymond Maxwell, former deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs. For reasons that are still unknown, he was fired along with 3 other diplomats in the aftermath of the Benghazi attack.

Maxwell has never been given an explantion and says he had absolutely nothing to do with security decisions that resulted in the death of Ambassador Stevens. The other three department officials let go were involved in diplomatic security.

Maxwell has broken his silence and talked to Josh Rogin:

"The overall goal is to restore my honor," said Maxwell, who has now 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.


Soon after being removed from his job, Maxwell was visited at his home late one evening and directed to sign a letter acknowledging his administrative leave and forfeiting his right to enter the State Department. He refused to sign, responding in writing that it amounted to an admission he had done something wrong.

"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 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. 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.

"Cheryl Mills directed me to remove you immediately from the [deputy assistant secretary] position," Jones told Maxwell, according to Maxwell.

The decision to remove Maxwell and not Jones seems to conflict with the finding of the ARB that responsibility for the security failures leading up to the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi should fall on more senior officials.

"We fixed [the responsibility] at the assistant secretary level, which is in our view the appropriate place to look, where the decision-making in fact takes place, where, if you like, the rubber hits the road," Pickering said when releasing the ARB report.

Maxwell may have revealed the reason for his leave; he was set to retire. Rather than go after someone with their career still viable, it is not unknown to fire someone who is retiring anyway.

Maxwell doesn't have any direct knowledge of the attack and is not a whistleblower. He is simply someone caught up in the CYA efforts of the State Department - and the effort to salvage Hillary Clinton's political career.