SecState Clinton: The Buck on Benghazi Security Stops With Her. Or Maybe It Stops Over There. (Updated)
More than a full month after a terrorist assault left four Americans including an ambassador dead, and a couple of weeks after the Obama administration blamed that assault on a movie, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has taken responsibility for security at the sacked US consulate. Clinton reportedly took responsibility during an interview with CNN in Lima, Peru.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday tried to douse a political firestorm around the deadly assault on a U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya, saying she is responsible for the security of American diplomatic outposts.
"I take responsibility" for the protection of U.S. diplomats, Clinton said during a visit to Peru. But she said an investigation now under way will ultimately determine what happened in the attack that left four Americans dead.
The attack on the night of September 11 killed Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, and three other Americans at the American consulate in Benghazi.
The Obama administration has been heavily criticized after Vice President Joe Biden said during last week's vice presidential debate that the White House did not know of requests to enhance security at Benghazi, contradicting testimony by State Department employees that requests had been made and rejected. After the debate, the White House said the vice president did not know of the requests because they were handled, as is the practice, by the State Department.
Clinton said President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are not involved in security decisions.
"I want to avoid some kind of political gotcha," she added, noting that it is close to the election.
A government official taking responsibility for something that went wrong. Fascinating.
Actually, Hillary's responsibility-taking is about as deep as most probably expected. She says she's responsible for those security people who work for her screwing this whole thing up.
Barack Obama once wielded executive responsibility as a weapon against Mitt Romney, but as Benghazi grew into a full blown scandal, where has he been? I mean, between the fundraisers. Through his vice president last week, Obama disavowed knowing anything about the security situation in Benghazi.
For what it's worth, that's a very plausible excuse. It's probable that Obama did not know about the security situation in the nation he helped lead from behind into whatever it is now. After all, Obama had not been attending his Presidential Daily Briefings too often in the months before the attack, and he had skipped several briefings the week before the attack. How was he to know that the Islamist state growing up in Libya would breed attacks on Americans?
I mean, other than common sense telling him that. How was he to know?
More: Now that Hillary has accepted responsibility for security, it's time someone accept security for telling the American people that a movie, rather than terrorism, caused the attack in the first place. Any takers? Barry? Hillary? Gen. Petraeus? Anyone?
These folks need to be brought in for questioning under oath.
Update: Sens. Lindsay Graham, Kelly Ayotte and John McCain released a statement tonight reacting to Clinton's remarks:
"We have just learned that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has claimed full responsibility for any failure to secure our people and our Consulate in Benghazi prior to the attack of September 11, 2012. This is a laudable gesture, especially when the White House is trying to avoid any responsibility whatsoever.
"However, we must remember that the events of September 11 were preceded by an escalating pattern of attacks this year in Benghazi, including a bomb that was thrown into our Consulate in April, another explosive device that was detonated outside of our Consulate in June, and an assassination attempt on the British Ambassador. 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. The security of Americans serving our nation everywhere in the world is ultimately the job of the Commander-in-Chief. The buck stops there."Furthermore, there is the separate issue of the insistence by members of the Administration, including the President himself, that the attack in Benghazi was the result of a spontaneous demonstration triggered by a hateful video, long after it had become clear that the real cause was a terrorist attack. The President also bears responsibility for this portrayal of the attack, and we continue to believe that the American people deserve to know why the Administration acted as it did."