Republicans react to Hillary Clinton taking blame for Benghazi


President Barack Obama speaks alongside US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton while announcing that Clinton will travel next month to Myanmar, also known as Burma.


Saul Loeb

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accepting responsibility for the handling of the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi has not blunted Republican criticism of President Barack Obama.

Clinton, late on Monday, said she took responsibility for the incident in Libya, saying, "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."

Republican Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte said in a statement that Clinton accepting the blame did not absolve Obama and the White House of responsibility, according to Foreign Policy magazine.

Their statement read:

"If the President was truly not aware of this rising threat level in Benghazi, then we have lost confidence in his national security team, whose responsibility it is to keep the President informed. But if the President was aware of these earlier attacks in Benghazi prior to the events of September 11, 2012, then he bears full responsibility for any security failures that occurred. The security of Americans serving our nation everywhere in the world is ultimately the job of the Commander-in-Chief. The buck stops there."

More on GlobalPost: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton takes responsibility for Benghazi attacks

Graham also said he had sent two letters, one to the leaders of Obama's national security team, and the other to the president, asking if the president had been informed of attacks carried out on the Benghazi compound in April and June. "If he was informed, it is nobody’s responsibility other than the commander in chief to take corrective action," he said, according to The New York Times.

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld made an appearance of Fox on Monday, reiterating that the blame ultimately lies with Obama. "The buck, with respect to providing security, is certainly within her area of responsibility, and it was a failure," he said, according to The Hill blog.

"On the other hand, the responsibility for the way the White House has tried to cover this up and manage it....I think the responsibility for that as well as the responsibility for the secretary of state not providing appropriate security does in fact fall with the president," he added.

"I think it’s a 3 a.m. call," said Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus on Tuesday, according to Politico. "The buck stops at the White House as Secretary Clinton said back in 2008. She’s saying differently today," he added, accusing the Secretary of State of covering for Obama.

Rep. Peter King, speaking on CNN, gave Clinton credit for taking responsibility, but added, "I wish President Obama and Joe Biden would also take responsibility. I think the administration has a lot to explain. From the day this story broke, back on September 11, September 12, they told misleading stories, confusing stories, contradictory stories."

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