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The 2012 Vote

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Clinton Takes Responsibility for Diplomatic Security

October 16th 2012

Libyan rioters at US consulate Sep 2012 #2

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is taking responsibility for a deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya last month, saying it is her job to be in charge of security for State Department employees working around the world. Clinton said in television interviews during a visit to Peru Monday that President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden would not know about specific decisions made by security personnel.  She 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 presidential campaign.  Republican candidate Mitt Romney has criticized Obama for not providing more security at the consulate in Benghazi. Clinton said Monday she did not want the attack to be part of a political "blame game." 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.

Senator John McCain and two other Republican senators said in a statement late Monday that Clinton's comments were a "laudable gesture," but that responsibility ultimately lies with the president.

Vice President Biden said last week during a debate with Romney's running mate, Paul Ryan, that he and 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.

Bernard Banks writes for VOA News, from where this article was adapted.


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