By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | JANUARY 23, 2013
United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on took full responsibility on Wednesday for the attack that killed 11 people, including the U.S. Ambassador in the U.S. consulate in Benghazi last September 11.
Clinton appeared at a hearing before the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate and asked its members to work with her successor in office to respond to new threats in North Africa.
Clinton responded to several questions about security problems detected in the consulate in Benghazi, the measures taken to protect the U.S. response to terrorist threats in North Africa, and the reaction from the State Department to prevent similar attacks occur in the future.
“I take full responsibility and no one is more committed than me to learn the lessons of this attack,” said the secretary. Clinton said the State Department created an internal commission to determine the different measures that can prevent a similar attack and repeat all of them, a set of 65 strategic changes will be implemented by March.
“It is absolutely essential that this committee work with the new secretary of state to understand the challenges, that are increasingly complex,” said Clinton.
“You can not say we agree on everything, but let’s focus on what really matters.” Clinton has asked the committee to abandon confrontations such as those surrounding the statements of the U.S. ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, that ended with her refusal to be considered as his replacement at the head of U.S. diplomacy.
The secretary strongly defended the role of Rice and her remarks four days after the attack on the consulate and asked the Senate Republicans to put aside their doubts about the time that that took the Administration to recognize that it was a terrorist attack.
“What difference does that make in a time when the government was still trying to determine the cause of the deaths of four U.S. citizens?” Clinton responded with great anger, and stroke the table with her left hand. “It took several days to get a clear picture of what had happened.”
The head of U.S. diplomacy answered several questions about the security measures taken by the Department to protect its representatives abroad, especially after the instability created by the Arab Spring in various countries in the region, which incidentally was sponsored by the United States government, among other Western nations. The U.S. actually armed much of the opposition that apparently took down Mubarak in Egypt, Gaddafi in Libya and that is now trying to take down Assad in Syria.
Several Republican politicians have argued since then that the secretary rejected requests from various embassies to increase security, something she has rejected by saying that she was “shocked” by such assumptions.
Clinton said at the beginning of her appearance, that the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens “is a personal matter, not just professional” and that she feels responsible for the lives of the 70,000 employees who work for the State Department.
Hillary Clinton had initially refused to appear before Congress alleging she was ill when the request was issued, but she later agreed to appear given growing political and popular demands to have an official explanation of the facts.
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