WASHINGTON - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday defended her handling of the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the US mission in Benghazi that killed four Americans, an event that threatens to stain her legacy at the State Department.
Clinton cast the incident, the first in which a US ambassador was killed since 1988, as part of a long history of such violence as well as the result of regional instability since the Arab Spring of popular revolutions began in 2011.
Speaking in congressional testimony delayed by more than a month because of her ill health, Clinton offered her first detailed accounting of the first days after the attack, saying she directed the US response from the State Department.
"I take responsibility," Clinton said, echoing comments she first made in a TV interview on Oct. 15 and stressing that she has accepted all of the recommendations of an independent review panel that ultimately held lower-level officials responsible.
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