Secretary of State Hillary Clinton showed emotion and flashes of anger on Wednesday as she delivered long-awaited testimony on the terrorist attack that killed four Americans in Benghazi, Libya.
Making one of her final appearances as the nation's top diplomat, Clinton sparred with Senate Republicans who accused the administration of misleading the public about the chain of events that preceded the Sept. 11 killings.
Clinton reiterated throughout the hearing that she takes responsibility for the State Department's security failures.
"As I have said many times since Sept. 11, I take responsibility. Nobody is more committed to getting this right. I am determined to leave the State Department and our country safer, stronger and more secure," she said.
But even as she accepted blame for the security lapses in Benghazi, Clinton made an effort to protect her legacy at State -- and potentially her chances at a presidential run in 2016 -- by denying any wrongdoing herself.
A bipartisan board that investigated the Libya attack "made very clear that the level of responsibility for the failures that they outlined was set at the Assistant Secretary of State level and below," Clinton said. "These requests don't ordinarily come in to the secretary of State."
That drew a blistering response from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky).
"I think ultimately with your leaving you accept culpability for the worst tragedy since Sept. 11," Paul said. "If I'd been president at the time and I'd found that you did not read the cables from Benghazi, you did not read the cables from Ambassador Stevens, I would have relieved you of your post."
"Not to know of the requests for security, really I think cost these people their lives."
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SOURCE: The Hill