News / USA

Clinton Takes Responsibility for Diplomatic Security

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivers a speech after meeting Peru's President Ollanta Humala in Lima, Peru, Oct. 15, 2012.U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivers a speech after meeting Peru's President Ollanta Humala in Lima, Peru, Oct. 15, 2012.
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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivers a speech after meeting Peru's President Ollanta Humala in Lima, Peru, Oct. 15, 2012.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivers a speech after meeting Peru's President Ollanta Humala in Lima, Peru, Oct. 15, 2012.
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Chris HannasKate Woodsome
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is taking responsibility for diplomatic security surrounding a deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya last month, following Republican criticism of President Barack Obama’s handling of the events. 
 
During a visit to Peru on Monday, Clinton said it is her job to be in charge of security for U.S. diplomatic staff around the world.
 
“Look, I take responsibility. I’m in charge of the State Department, 60,000-plus people all over the world, 275 posts. The President and the Vice President certainly wouldn’t be knowledgeable about specific decisions that are made by security professionals,” Clinton told CNN.
 
The top U.S. diplomat also said circumstances surrounding attacks like the one on September 11 that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans are not always clear at the time.
 
The attack, and the Obama administration's response, have become an issue in the U.S. presidential campaign. Republican candidate Mitt Romney has criticized Mr. Obama for not providing more security at the consulate in Benghazi.
 
Clinton said she did not want the attack to be part of a political "blame game."
 
Bruce Miroff, a professor of political science at the State University of New York at Albany, said Clinton’s remarks are part of an attempt to “neutralize” Mr. Romney’s criticism.
 
“Romney has been arguing that the Obama administration has presented a weak position in the world. And that he would be a much stronger president in projecting American leadership,” Miroff said.
 
He added that the Republican contender has had difficulty selling that idea because President Obama has been able to tout his administration's success in killing al-Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden.
 
Until now, Miroff said, “Romney has been lacking for specifics on the idea that the Obama administration has presented a weak foreign policy.”
 
The Obama administration initially said the assault came after a protest against an anti-Islam film made in the United States, but now says it was a terrorist attack.
 
Clinton said there is an “intense effort” in the government to find the perpetrators.
 
“First, we will get to the bottom of what happened. Secondly, we will learn whatever lessons can be gleaned in order to protect our people. And third, we will track down whoever did this and hold them accountable, bring them to justice,” she told ABC News.
 
In a separate interview with FOX News, Clinton defended the Obama administration’s fight against terrorism, saying it has degraded the core of al-Qaida, although its affiliates still pose a threat.
 
“This Administration knows all too well that we face extremists, wannabe al-Qaida types, new groups popping up that want to do harm to their own people, to the United States and our friends and allies. And we are as vigilant as we possibly can be around the clock,” she said.
 
Republican Senator John McCain and two other senators from his party said in a statement late Monday that Clinton's comments were a "laudable gesture," but that responsibility for the security of U.S. diplomatic staff overseas ultimately lies with the president.
 
Vice President Biden said last week during a debate with Mr. Romney's running mate, Paul Ryan, that he and Mr. Obama did not know about requests for extra security at the consulate.
 
Testimony before a congressional committee earlier in the week showed the State Department had turned down several requests for more security at the site. A State Department official told lawmakers that the correct number of security officers were in Benghazi at the time of the attack.
 
Mr. Obama will have an opportunity to defend his administration’s actions in New York Tuesday evening during his second presidential debate against Mr. Romney.
 

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Comments page of 2
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by: Godwin from: Nigeria
October 16, 2012 11:33 AM
She had better be more responsible than she has been. Taking responsibility for losing where America should gain does not restore good governance, nor does it exonerate Obama's administration for the gross negligence that led to loss of lives. The state department owning up to the responsibility should mean one thing that Mrs Clinton has not said: Obama's ignorance lacks the requirements for credible security of the state home and abroad. There is an apparent lack of supervision by the president. Take this cue: the president does not yet understand what it takes to be the president of a country, much less president of the United States of America. Which entails diplomatic blunders that the press has been battling to cover up for the state house. The only thing in life that is constant is Change. America should try to change for a CHANGE.

In Response

by: Jennifer Reidy
October 16, 2012 3:09 PM
Haillar,
That was very rude of you, and YES that is his responsibility, to oversee the government and the folks he appointed. Campaigning has been at the forefront of his mind, instead of those tedious things like national security and the protection of American citizens.

In Response

by: Haillar from: Jersey City, US
October 16, 2012 2:36 PM
Shut up...

Before you make comments like these make sure you understand the whole picture, how government is set up and who is who. Of course the buck stops with the president but can he oversee and manage every branch of government?
So STFU!!!


by: Mitt Romeny from: Washington
October 16, 2012 8:42 AM
I'm responsible. My voters have not figured out that I am going to raise their taxes yet. My voters are the loophole, LOL.


by: Richard Poole from: Middletown Ct
October 16, 2012 8:15 AM
Who took responsibility in the Bush administration for 9-11=no one

In Response

by: jd from: florida
October 17, 2012 3:45 AM
People died and Obama lied...went on David Letterman and perpetuated the lie. very sad. We the people not as stupid as Barry think we are. we pay attention. BARRY'S TIME IS UP!

In Response

by: Betty Marr from: Somerville, Ohio
October 16, 2012 3:26 PM
Bush started two wars on a credit card. I guess he tried to take responsibility. GOP seems to be suggesting another war would prove how to "man up" and take responsibility. God forbid.

In Response

by: Jennifer Reidy
October 16, 2012 3:10 PM
Regardless of what happened in the Bush administration, do you honestly think this all falls on Hillary?! She isn't taking full credit for the death of OBL, so why should she take full blame for this disaster?

In Response

by: Betty Marr from: Somerville Ohio
October 16, 2012 1:56 PM
Agree 100%

In Response

by: Pat Tanner from: Laptop
October 16, 2012 1:49 PM
Bill Clinton should have taken responsibility


by: Bob from: Trenton, NJ
October 16, 2012 7:42 AM
Excellent lawyer, Hillary, realizes what the Republican candidates have not figured out yet; that Obama's Benghazi coverup was a serious crime and his Watergate. Obama knew, or had reason to know that inflaming the Arab world by pointing out an offensive video and staging reactions to it after the fact, would, and did lead to loss of life, injuries and property damage around the world. His attempt to cover up a successful attack by US enemies on his watch also misled the American and violated his obligations as President.

In Response

by: Concerned from: Los Angeles
October 16, 2012 1:04 PM
The "Arab"s do not need encouragement from anyone. The are "inflamed" in their natural state of mind.


by: frank cold from: spain
October 16, 2012 7:09 AM
So is Hilary Clinton responsible for the lies and cover up. How come the President didn't demand all full account right away

In Response

by: Jennifer Reidy
October 16, 2012 3:13 PM
Our Celebrity in Chief needs to get back to his real tasks at hand. I'm sure the protection of the American people can seem quite boring compared to Jay-z and Beyonce fundraisers, or appearing on The View, but it should be on the top of his agenda!

In Response

by: cg from: america
October 16, 2012 2:32 PM
He was too busy prepping for his appearances on late night and the view

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