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Clinton says diplomatic security her charge

LIMA, Peru -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is taking responsibility for security at the U.S. consulate in Libya where an assault by extremists on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans.

Pushing back against Republican criticism of the Obama administration for its handling of the situation, Clinton said Monday in Lima, Peru, that security at all of America's diplomatic missions abroad is her job, not that of the White House. She made the comments in several television interviews.

“I take responsibility,” she told CNN. “I'm in charge of the State Department's 60,000-plus people all over the world (at) 275 posts. The president and the vice president wouldn't be knowledgeable about specific decisions that are made by security professionals. They're the ones who weigh all of the threats and the risks and the needs and make a considered decision.”

With only weeks before the presidential election, outrage over the attack at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi crystallized last week around Vice President Joe Biden for claiming in the debate with Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan that “we weren't told” about requests for extra security at the consulate, where assailants killed the Ambassador Chris Stevens, foreign service officer Sean Smith, and security officers Glen A. Doherty and Tyrone S. Woods

Congressional hearings last week revealed that the State Department was aware of, and rejected, several requests for increased security in Benghazi. Spokesmen for both the State Department and the White House took pains Friday to make clear that Biden's reference to “we” referred to the White House, where such requests would not go in the early stages.

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