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Hillary Clinton shoulders blame for Libya consulate security

Hillary Clinton tells critics of the attack at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya: "I take responsibility." Clinton says White House would not have known about requests for more security.

By Matthew LeeAssociated Press / October 16, 2012

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton pauses while delivering a speech in Lima, Peru, Monday, Oct. 15, 2012. She took responsibility for security at the U.S. consulate in Libya where an attack by extremists last month killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans.

AP Photo/Karel Navarro

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Lima, Peru

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is answering Republican criticism of the Obama administration's handling of last month's attack at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, saying she — not the White House — is responsible for security at all of America's diplomatic missions.

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"I take responsibility," Clinton told CNN. "I'm in charge of the State Department's 60,000-plus people all over the world (at) 275 posts."

With only weeks before the presidential election, outrage has crystallized around Vice President Joe Biden's claim in last week's debate with Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan that "we weren't told" about requests for extra security at the consulate where assailants killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

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Congressional hearings revealed that the State Department was aware of, and rejected, several requests for increased security in Benghazi. Spokesmen for both the State Department and the White House took pains Friday to make clear that Biden's "we" referred to the White House, where such requests would not go.

Clinton backed up Biden's assertion. "The president and the vice president wouldn't be knowledgeable about specific decisions that are made by security professionals," she said Monday.

Clinton told Fox News Channel that "the decisions about security are made by security professionals. But we're going to review everything to be sure we're doing what needs to be done in an increasingly risky environment."

There are three separate investigations into the attack going on now: an FBI probe into the deaths of the four Americans, an independent inquiry by a panel appointed by Clinton and the congressional hearings.

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