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Secretary Clinton Takes “Responsibility,” Points to Security Team, Republican Senators Pounce

SECRETARY CLINTON, traveling in Peru, in an interview with CNN, said that neither President Obama or Vice President Biden would be privy to the decisions of the security team in Benghazi charged with protecting the consulate and Chris Stevens. But predictably, it landed on deaf Republican ears.

From the interview with CNN’s Elise Labott:

“I take responsibility,” Clinton said during a visit to Peru. “I’m in charge of the State Department’s 60,000-plus people all over the world, 275 posts. The president and the vice president wouldn’t be knowledgeable about specific decisions that are made by security professionals. They’re the ones who weigh all of the threats and the risks and the needs and make a considered decision.

[...] “I take this very personally,” Clinton said. “So we’re going to get to the bottom of it, and then we’re going to do everything we can to work to prevent it from happening again, and then we’re going to work to bring whoever did this to us to justice.”

The wider press is jumping on the Secretary’s “I take responsibility,” which was the intent of the statement. This is the phrase that will make the news across the spectrum, especially in localities and cities outside the Beltway.

The responsibility Clinton is actually assuming is for the 60,000-plus people under her charge as Secretary of State. It is, however, very clear where she puts the blame. The security pros are the “ones who weigh all of the threats and the risks and the needs and make a considered decision.”

Clinton’s statement had no chance of soothing the political beast in a presidential election year, which Sen. John McCain proved quickly.

Senators John McCain, Lindsay Graham and Kelly Ayotte landed hard after Hillary’s statement was made public.

Washington, D.C. ­— U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) today released the following statement on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s comments this evening regarding the terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi on September 11, 2012:

“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.”

The security team will come under fire, scrutiny on private security failures once again.

Secretary Clinton’s statement came after Chris Stevens’s father rightly bemoaned that his son’s death was becoming a political football. Anyone watching Darrell Issa’s oversight circus saw that in the glaring light of day.

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9 Responses to Secretary Clinton Takes “Responsibility,” Points to Security Team, Republican Senators Pounce

  1. mjsmith October 16, 2012 at 8:47 am #

    “….They’re the ones who weigh all of the threats and the risks and the needs and make a considered decision.”

    Clinton took responsibility and then put potential blame on the “Security pros”.

    The mixed reactions to this tragedy is clear sign that there is a lack of leadership. Our Government is unable to pass a budget and at the same time “fix” the economy.

    I am not saying that Romney is going to do any better.

  2. Taylor Marsh October 16, 2012 at 9:40 am #

    The entire handling of the Benghazi terrorist attack explanation has been bungled by Pres. Obama. It has compounded the tragedy.

    It’s stupefying that the White House allowed this to get away from them.

    • jjamele October 16, 2012 at 9:48 am #

      “No! Obama is Awesome! Shut Up! Our Young PresidentTM has been cleared of malfeasance by your heroine Hillary, you just can’t accept it! LOL!”

      –Solo’s Intern

  3. looloo October 16, 2012 at 9:40 am #

    Hilary Clinton fills the leadership vacuum, voluntarily or not.

    • Taylor Marsh October 16, 2012 at 9:42 am #

      Interesting how the national media is interpreting what she said.

  4. mjsmith October 16, 2012 at 9:58 am #

    The President was quick to respond to Mitt Romney. Romney spoke out against the attack and criticized the response, appearing to be politicizing the tragedy. Obama made the mistake of responding to the political attack the way a parent makes the mistake of getting into an arguement with a young child.

  5. Pilgrim October 16, 2012 at 10:01 am #

    I saw your tweet on Daily Rundown.

    My interpretation of what she said is that she is a bigger and better soul, and has a finer character, than the president and v.p. She at least said the words “I take responsibility” and thus sounds more “presidential.”

  6. Isis October 16, 2012 at 10:47 am #

    Hilary Clinton could not have been more clear and accurate and I really don’t see how her statement enables anyone to make any judgement regarding her soul, that of President Obama’s or Joe Biden’s.

    She was not playing martyr to save the administration or putting herself out there to shield anyone but simply stating the fact that as SoS with delegated authority she is responsible for the day to day management and decision-making at State Department. This cannot be Obama’s or Biden’s responsibility because that is her job. If they made such decisions she would be redundant. Don’t see how this is different from what happens in any organization: a manager has a budget and ideally a set of guidelines and objectives and within these constraints makes decision.

    Clearly whatever she says will be used against her and against Obama so they cannot win, especially in this election year. This latest attempt by the rethuglicans to twist Clinton’s words and intent is ridiculous. Hope they try it in front of her…no doubt they would get a scolding, she tends to be really impatient with the rethugs.

  7. casualobserver October 16, 2012 at 12:43 pm #

    “WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House, under political pressure to respond forcefully to the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, is readying strike forces and drones but first has to find a target.”

    The question is can you get them up in the air and dropping bombs before the debate commences tonight. I kinda like this Obama guy….you can pressure him into doing just about anything to get re-elected……..maybe we can even adopt Simpson-Bowles before Election Day too.

.... a writer is someone who takes the universal whore of language
and turns her into a virgin again.  ~ erica jong