In a shocking move this morning, Hillary Clinton announced that she is taking responsibility for the security failure in Benghazi that led to the death of four Americans in last month.
In the wake of heavy criticism from Republicans, Clinton stated that ensuring the safety of US diplomats and their staff overseas was her job and not that of the White House.
“I take responsibility,” Clinton said, “I’m in charge of the state department’s 60,000-plus people all over the world [at] 275 posts.”
The announcement seems to be an attempt to draw criticism away from President Obama prior to the debates. The president faltered during the last debate and needs a strong performance this round in order to recover his lead in the polls.
During her interviews, Clinton appeared to acknowledge that she was indeed attempting to shield the president from further criticism and went on to say:
“What we had to do in the state department was keep focused not on why something happened – that was for the intelligence community to determine – but what was happening and what could happen, and that’s what I was very much working on, day and night, to try to make sure that we intervened with governments. We did everything we could to keep our people safe, which is my primary responsibility.”
Clinton is focused on tracking down the killers of US Ambassador Chris Stevens and his colleagues and bringing them to justice.
“I don’t think we want to get into any blame game. I think what we want to do is get to the bottom of what happened, figure out what we’re going to do to protect people and prevent it from happening again and then track down whoever did and bring them to justice.”
Last week, a US congressional committee heard US security in Libya was reduced before the attack on the US consulate, even though violence in the area was getting worse. Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney has been making the attack on Benghazi the center of his case against President Obama’s foreign policy. He has also accused the Vice-President of making misleading statements about the attack. The VP stated in last week’s debates that the administration was not told about the extra requests for security in Libya which conflicted with the testimony of state department officials.
Clinton has backed up Biden though stating, “The president and the vice-president wouldn’t be knowledgeable about specific decisions that are made by security professionals.”
In the days after the attack, the President’s ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, described the attack as a “spontaneous” assault that arose from protests against a US-made amateur video that mocks Islam. Since then US officials have concluded that attack was not motivated by the film at all.
Later tonight President Obama and Presidential Candidate Romney will be facing off in their second debate, where surely Romney will be bringing up the failure in Libya.
Do you think Clinton is taking the hit for Obama or is she stepping up and taking responsibility for her actions?