World Bulletin / News Desk
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said that she has taken responsibility for the U.S. consulate attack in the Libyan city of Benghazi in 2012, which killed four American diplomats, including the ambassador.
In remarks made in a testimony before a U.S. Congressional Committee on Benghazi on Thursday, Clinton also defended herself by explaining how she as secretary of state called for security reforms after the attack.
"I took responsibility, and as part of that before I left office I launched reforms to better protect our people in the field and help reduce the chance of another tragedy happening in the future," the Democratic presidential front-runner for 2016 elections said.
She also pointed out the lack of intelligence before the attack, which could have recommended the immediate pull out of diplomats from Benghazi.
"The overall concerns about Benghazi, I think I stated previously, there was never any recommendation by anyone, the intelligence community, the Defense Department, the State Department officials responsible for Libya, to leave Benghazi," she said.
The committee hearing started with Republican Chairman Trey Gowdy's statement that the "truth" over the case had to be revealed.
During the two-and-a-half hour first session of the hearing, Clinton said that she was the one who had recommended Christopher Stevens to U.S. President Barack Obama for becoming the ambassador to Libya, adding that Stevens knew the area well and was aware of the risks involved in his job.
Clinton said that it was not an option to "to retreat from the world" by not sending U.S. representatives abroad, and added that the U.S. could not shrink from the ability to lead overseas despite the dangers in the region.
"We inevitably must accept a level of risk to protect our country and advance our interests and values and make no mistakes. The risks are real," she said.
Besides Stevens -- first U.S. Ambassador who has been killed in the line of duty since 1979 -- three other U.S. officials had been killed too on September 11, 2012, in Benghazi. One of them was U.S. Foreign Service Information Management Officer, Sean Smith. Two of them were CIA contractors, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.
One of the main suspects behind the attack, Ahmed Abu Khatallah, was brought to a U.S. federal court in Washington last year in June. He was captured on June 15 by U.S. Special Forces in Libya and was transferred to America.
The U.S. State Department designated Khatallah as a global terrorist on Jan. 10, saying that he was a “senior leader” of the Benghazi branch of Ansar al-Shari’a, a militant group with alleged ties to the attacks on the U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi.
Thursday's committee -- the fourth hearing since the committee was formed in May 2014 -- took place after seven congressional investigations into the attack have been conducted over the attack.
The second part of the Thursday hearing is expected to begin soon.