U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, is taking the blame for the handling of last month’s attack at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. According to CNN, Clinton said, “I take responsibility. I’m in charge of the State Department’s 60,000-plus people all over the world (at) 275 posts.”
Heavily-armed militants stormed the U.S. consulate compound in Benghazi, Libya on September 11 and fired on a nearby annex housing security personnel. The attack left four Americans dead as well as the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens.
President Barack Obama has been under fire for his handling of the situation in the Middle East. Mitt Romney has accused the administration of giving a muddled response betraying a failed Middle East policy. However, during last week’s debate, Vice President Joe Biden claimed that “We weren’t told” about requests for extra security at the consulate.
With only weeks before the presidential election, Clinton’s move will be seen as an attempt to take the heat off of President Barack Obama. According to Clinton, “The decisions about security are made by security professionals, but we’re going to review everything to be sure we’re doing what needs to be done in an increasingly risky environment.” She also backed up Biden’s claims saying, “The president and vice president wouldn’t be knowledgeable about specific decisions that are made by security professionals.”
However, congressional hearings revealed that the State Department was aware of these requests for increased security in Benghazi, but rejected them. Spokesmen for both the State Department and the White House attempted to make it clear that when Biden said “we” he was referring to the White House—a place where such requests would not go.
Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte said in a statement released Monday “If the president was truly not aware of this rising threat level in Benghazi, then we have lost confidence in his national security team, whose responsibility it is to keep the president informed. But if the president was aware of these earlier attacks in Benghazi prior to the events of September 11, 2012, then he bears full responsibility for any security failures that occurred.”