Republican Rep. Jim Jordan expressed frustration in the first public hearing of the Benghazi Select Committee Wednesday that the State Department is not taking the recommendations of a best practices panel seriously.
What’s it going to take?” he said in the Select Committee hearing Wednesday. “What’s it going to take for the State Department to put in place the practices that are going to save american lives?”
Greg Starr, assistant secretary for diplomatic security, testified Wednesday the State Department will not implement the most important recommendation from the panel, which is to create an Undersecretary for Diplomatic Security.
The creation of that position “is crucial to the successful and sustainable implementation of all of the recommendations,” said Todd Keil, the former assistant secretary for infrastructure protection at the Department of Homeland Security. “It’s designed to give accountability and responsibility to one particular person at the State Department.”
Keil added that the same recommendation was given and ignored following attacks decades ago in Africa and Beirut.
“They didn’t listen to the guys on the ground who put their lives on the line. They didn’t follow their own standards that were developed in 1983 after the Beirut embassy bombing. They didn’t follow the waiver process to deviate from those standards, and now they’re not following the best practices panel’s number one recommendation.”
“What’s it going to take?” he continued. “The ranking member in his opening remarks said this is a ‘transformational moment,’ well somebody better tell the state department that.”
“I mean, talk about the arrogance of the State Department,” he added.
Following his remarks, ranking member Elijah Cummings called Rep. Jordan out for not directing his questions to the witness from the State Department. “Why don’t you ask that question of the State Department?” he said.
“You can ask them that,” Rep. Jordan responded, clearly irritated. “The minority can use their ten minutes on whatever witness they want. In fact, this was a hearing they called. You can handle it however you want to,” he added.
Rep. Cummings declined to comment about Jordan’s comment on the arrogance of the State Department. “I think it would have been appropriate, instead of Jordan testifying about the state department, that he just ask him,” he told The Daily Caller.
Starr later explained that the State Department has concluded the recommendation is unnecessary, and appropriate steps have been taken to clearly define who is responsible and should be held accountable for security. He pointed out that the State Department has already implemented more than 30 of the 40 recommendations from the panel.