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.
Former 4-star Gen. Jack Keane on Fox: Secy Clinton has “broad soldiers” & is accepting responsibility over what she has responsibility.
— Taylor Marsh (@taylormarsh) October 16, 2012