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WASHINGTON (AFP) – Four officials placed on administrative leave during a probe into the deadly 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, can return to work, the U.S. State Department said Tuesday.

The September 11 attack left four people dead, including ambassador Chris Stevens, and caused a political storm between U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration and his Republican opponents.

An independent commission set up by former U.S. secretary of state Hillary Clinton had found serious safety failings in the department and recommended sanctions against the four employees, who were placed on leave without pay.

However, under a decision by Secretary of State John Kerry, the four will “be reassigned to different positions within the department, and they will be returning to work,” said State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf.

Kerry replaced Clinton as the top U.S. diplomat on February 1.

Harf did not identify the four employees nor their new positions.

Photo Credit: AFP/Gianluigi Guercia

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President Joe Biden

Photo by The White House

Two tiresome realities about being president of the United States: first, everybody blames you for things over which you have little or no control: such as the worldwide price of oil, and international shipping schedules. Should there be too few electronic gee-gaws on store shelves to pacify American teenagers this Christmas, it will be Joe Biden’s fault.

Second, everybody gives you advice, whether you ask for it or not. Everywhere you look, Democrats and Democratically-inclined pundits are tempted to panic. “The cold reality for Biden,” writes New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait “is that his presidency is on the brink of failure.” A return to Trumpism, and essentially the end of American democracy, strikes Chait as altogether likely.

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