Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: I take responsibility.
Jessica: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told members of Congress that she has no higher priority than protecting Americans who are serving abroad.
Clinton: When America is absent, especially from unstable environments, there are consequences. Extremism takes root, our interests suffer, our security at home is threatened.
Jessica: And battling extremism was one of the reasons why the U.S. sent an ambassador to Libya, a country in Northern Africa considered unstable, after its leader of more than thirty years, Muammar Gaddafi, was overthrown.
But on September 11th of last year, U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, along with another State Department colleague and two former Navy SEALs, were killed in an attack on the U.S. Consulate in the city of Benghazi.
Clinton: I put my arms around the mothers and fathers, the sisters and brothers, the sons and daughters and the wives left alone to raise their children.
Jessica: What sparked the attack has been disputed ever since. At first, the State Department said the attack was spontaneous, triggered by a protest, despite some evidence that it was preplanned.
Members of Congress grilled Secretary Clinton about what the administration knew, and when.
Senator Ron Johnson: We were mislead that there were supposedly protests and that something sprang out of that – an assault sprang out of that. And that was easily ascertained that that was not the fact. And the American people could not have known that within days. And they didn’t know that.
Clinton: With all due respect, that fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night and decided they would go kill some Americans? What difference, at this point, does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator.
Jessica: A separate Senate committee report concluded the State Department made a ‘grievous mistake’ in keeping the Benghazi mission open, despite reports of poor security and an increasing number of threats in the weeks before the attack.
Some Republicans accuse the Obama administration of ignoring these warning signs.
Senator John McCain: All these warnings, all these things to … We didn’t have a single Department of Defense asset apparently available to come to these rescue
Jessica: Secretary Clinton says the Benghazi attack has led the State Department to rethink how they make decisions on where, when and how their people operate in high-threat areas.
Jessica Kumari, Channel One News.