Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Wednesday morning to claim responsibility for the State Department's failure to prevent the deadly September 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. Consulate of Benghazi, Libya. The attack was responsible for the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.
"As I have said many times since Sept. 11, I take responsibility," said Hillary Clinton. "Nobody is more committed to getting this right. I am determined to leave the State Department and our country safer, stronger and more secure."
The Benghazi attack occurred at approximately 9:40 p.m. as a large number of armed men directed a barrage of automatic weapons fire, RPG, and truck mounted artillery towards the U.S. Consulate. In all, four were killed and ten were injured in the attack.
Recalling the aftermath, Clinton was visibly emotional during the testimony. "I stood next to President Obama as the Marines carried those flag-draped caskets off the plane at Andrews," she said. "I put my arms around the mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, sons and daughters."
According to State Department spokesperson Victoria Noland, Hillary Clinton will focus on the Accountability Review Board's independent assessment on the Benghazi attack and the State Department will implement its recommendations.
The State Department has received a total of 29 recommendations for stronger security measures from an independent review board that criticized the department.
In last month's report, the panel stated, "Systematic failures and leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels within two beureaus of the State Department resulted in a Special Mission security posture that was inadequate for Benghazi and grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place."
The report emphasized on the lack of cooperation, and even confusion, between the Bureau of Diplomatic Security and the Bureau of Near East Affairs. The report claimed that a security vacuum in Libya after the fall of Gadhafi is responsible for the tragedy at Benghazi.
In response to the board's report, Hillary Clinton pledged to accept all 29 recommendations but to also fully implement these procedures before a successor takes over the position as Secretary of State.
"Make no mistake about it, we have got to have a better strategy," says Clinton.
Senator Bob Menedenz, D-N.J., is the next chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee and will preside of the Senate session. "My hope is we look at this as a positive constructive opportunity to build much greater security for our diplomatic missions across the world," Menendez said.