U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has praised slain U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens, calling him a "fallen hero" and praising his improvisational style of diplomacy.
She spoke at a ceremony honoring Stevens and others with a Common Ground award, which focuses on conflict resolution, negotiation, and peace building.
In her speech Thursday in Washington, Clinton also said the State Department and the Defense Department are investigating high-threat foreign posts, like Stevens' in Libya, to figure out whether security improvements are needed.
Stevens and three other Americans died on September 11, 2012, in armed attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya.
Then-U.S. envoy J. Christopher Stevens attends meetings at the Tibesty Hotel in Benghazi, Libya. (April 2011 file photo)
J. Christopher Stevens, newly appointed U.S. ambassador to Libya, shakes hands with Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) chairman Mustafa Abdel Jalil (R) after presenting his credentials during a meeting in Tripoli, June 7, 2012.
Then-U.S. envoy Christopher Stevens speaks to local media before attending meetings at the Tibesty Hotel where an African Union delegation was meeting with opposition leaders in Benghazi, Libya. (April 2011 file photo)
In this photo posted on the U.S. Embassy Tripoli Facebook page, Christopher Stevens poses with a shop owner in Tripoli, Libya, August 12, 2012.
Christopher Stevens, center, accompanied by British envoy Christopher Prentice, left, speaks to Council member for Misrata Dr. Suleiman Fortia, right, in Benghazi, Libya (April 2011 file photo).
Christopher Stevens (R), Britain's diplomatic representative Christopher Prentice (L) and deputy chairman of the TNC Abdul Hafiz Ghoqa (C) attend a memorial service for slain photojournalists Tim Hetherington an Chris Hondros in Benghazi, April 2011.
U.S. Ambassador-at-Large Stephen Rapp with Christopher Stevens (C), after a meeting with Libyan Justice Minister Ali Ashour discussing cooperation between the two countries on issues of human rights, in Tripoli June 27, 2012.
Clinton said Stevens would never have blamed average Libyans for the extremist attack.
"Chris understood that most people, in Libya or anywhere, reject the extremist arguments that violence and death are the only way to reclaim dignity and achieve justice," Clinton said. "He understood; that's why he was in Libya."
She said the U.S. cannot prevent every act of terrorism, but the nation has a responsibility to constantly reduce the risks its diplomats face. She said U.S. citizens who serve the country overseas "represent the best traditions of a bold and generous nation."