WASHINGTON - The leaders of an official inquiry into the fatal attack on a US mission in Benghazi, Libya, did not find Secretary of State Hillary Clinton responsible for security lapses even as they outlined widespread failings within her department.

The unclassified version of the report, released late Tuesday by the State Department, concluded that the mission was completely unprepared to deal with a September 11 attack that killed US Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

Responsibility for security shortcomings in Benghazi lay farther down the State Department command chain, said Retired Ambassador Thomas Pickering, who lead the inquiry.

"We fixed (responsibility) at the assistant secretary level, which is, in our view, the appropriate place to look for where the decision-making in fact takes place, where - if you like - the rubber hits the road," Pickering said after closed-door meetings with congressional committees.

Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger