"In addition to the security outside the compound, we relied on a wall and a robust security presence inside the compound," she said. "And with all of our missions overseas, in advance of September 11th, as is done every year, we did an evaluation on threat streams."
Clinton also said the Office of the Director of National Intelligence "has said we had no actionable intelligence that an attack on our post in Benghazi was planned or imminent."
She added that diplomats "engage in dangerous work, and it's the nature of diplomacy in fragile societies and conflict zones to be aware of the necessity for security but to also continue the important diplomatic work that has to go on.
"There is risk inherent in what we do and what these brave men and women representing the United States are up against every single day," Clinton said, "and we do our very best to limit that risk by ensuring that our security protocols reflect the environments in which diplomats work and the threats that they are presented with."
Chaffetz said in an interview that if the Benghazi security was typical of the protection in other dangerous places, "that's frightening." He said Benghazi is "one of the most awful and volatile areas on the planet. A reduction in the security profile doesn't seem consistent with the threat that was on the ground. That's why we have whistleblowers anxious to speak with us."
Among the incidents cited in the Issa-Chaffetz letter to Clinton:
—Just weeks before the attacks, the unarmed Libyan guards at the consulate, employed by British contractor Blue Mountain Group, were warned by family members to quit their jobs because there were rumors of an impending attack.
—In April, a gun battle erupted about two miles from the consulate between an unidentified armed group and forces loyal to the transitional government.
—In June, a posting on a Facebook page mentioned Stevens' early morning runs around Tripoli along with members of his security detail. The page contained a threat against Stevens and a stock photo of him. Stevens stopped the runs for about a week, but then resumed.
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