WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered fiery rejoinders Wednesday to Republican critics of the Obama administration’s handling of the deadly attack on a U.S. mission in Benghazi, facing off with lawmakers who included potential 2016 presidential rivals.
Clinton rejected GOP suggestions in two congressional hearings that the administration tried to mislead the country about the Sept. 11 attack that killed Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, and three other Americans. She insisted the State Department is moving swiftly and aggressively to strengthen security at diplomatic posts.
Clinton once again took responsibility for the department’s missteps and failures leading up to the assault. But she also said that requests for more security at the diplomatic mission in Benghazi didn’t reach her desk and reminded lawmakers that they have a responsibility to fund security-related budget requests.
Three weeks after her release from a New York hospital, Clinton was at times defiant, complimentary and willing to chastise lawmakers during more than 5 1/2 hours of testimony before two separate committees.