The Corner

Hillary Clinton: ‘I Take Responsibility’ for Lack of Security in Libya

There was plenty of speculation about whether Hillary Clinton, not President Obama, would take the fall for the inadequate security before the Benghazi terrorist attack. Now it appears that she has done exactly that in an interview with CNN:

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the buck stops with her when it comes to who is to blame for security ahead of a deadly assault on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.

“I take responsibility” for what happened on September 11, Clinton said in an interview with CNN’s Elise Labott soon after arriving in Lima, Peru, for a visit. The interview, one of a series given to U.S. television networks Monday night, was the first she has given about the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

Clinton insisted 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.

If Clinton was thinking about making a 2016 run, this is a surprising move. It’ll also be interesting to see whether this means she’ll end up testifying before Congress.

UPDATE: Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Kelly Ayotte release a statement that President Obama still holds responsibility for the lack of security in Libya:

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.

Katrina Trinko — Katrina Trinko is a political reporter for National Review. Trinko is also a member of USA TODAY’S Board of Contributors, and her work has been published in various media outlets ...

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