Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that she takes the blame for the security situation at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, where four American diplomats were recently murdered. The Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, were killed in a September 11 terrorist attack.
"I take responsibility," Clinton said. "I'm the Secretary of State with 60,000-plus employees around the world. This is like a big family. ... It's painful, absolutely painful."
Clinton emphasized that overseeing security for American diplomats is her job and not President Obama's. The murders have recently become a campaign issue, so much so that families of the Americans killed have publicly requested that campaigns stop politicizing the deaths. Republican nominee Mitt Romney criticized the president for having inadequate security at the consulate and improperly responding to the crisis. The White House initially said the attack was a protest that got out of control in reaction to an offensive anti-Muslim video on YouTube, but as more information was uncovered it became clear the attack was preplanned.
Vice President Joe Biden defended the administration's response to the attack in last week's debate with Paul Ryan, and said he was not aware that there were requests for more security at the diplomatic facility. Ryan said the administration ignored concerns that security was lacking.
“There were requests for extra security. Those requests were not honored,” Ryan said in Thursday's debate.
Clinton said that neither Obama nor Biden were involved in security decisions at the consulate, and can't be blamed for the attack:
The president and the vice president wouldn't be knowledgeable about specific decisions that are made by security professionals. They're the ones who weigh all of the threats and the risks and the needs and make a considered decision.
Clinton said the State Department will be investigating what led to the security breach in Benghazi to prevent similar situations from happening.
She has said that she will step down as Secretary of State at the end of her first term.
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