US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. (File photo)
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has testified before a congressional inquiry, admitting “full responsibility” regarding the September 11, 2012 attack on the US mission in Benghazi.
Clinton defended herself on Wednesday in front of the Senate and House foreign policy panels in Washington DC over the handling of the attack in Libya that killed four Americans including US Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
"I take responsibility," Clinton admitted, saying that she directed the State Department’s response to the attacks.
This comes as a previous Senate report stated the State Department was completely ill-prepared to deal with the attack, citing "leadership and management" deficiencies, poor communication and misplaced lines of authority in Washington.
The report further stated a "grievous mistake" in equipping the Benghazi mission with inadequate security, particularly as intelligence revealed the growing unpopularity of the American presence in the region.
Eric Nordstrom, a US security officer previously stationed in Libya, told US lawmakers that he twice asked the State Department to send more security agents for the American mission in Benghazi, but was not given any response.
Clinton went on to say "the Arab revolutions have scrambled power dynamics and shattered security forces across the region," admitting that the Arab Spring has taken a toll on American forces.
Clinton was originally scheduled to testify before the committee in late December, but a concussion due to dehydration and later a blood clot in her head forced her to postpone her testimony.
The Benghazi attack also put US ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice in the spotlight when she said the attack was the result of a spontaneous demonstration rather than an assault. Rice later lost her chance to succeed Clinton as secretary of state.
On September 11, clashes broke out at the US consulate in Benghazi after a group of people held a demonstration against an anti-Islam movie produced in the US, which insulted Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).