Hillary Clinton to Benghazi Panel: ‘I Took Responsibility’
Hillary Clinton took the witness stand to discuss Benghazi on Thursday.
As she began speaking, she suggested that the American people wanted a true leader, not partisan politics that are deeply rooted in ideology.
Before the testimony began, Clinton paid tribute to those who died in Benghazi.
“I am here to honor the service of those four men, the courage of the diplomatic security agencies and the CIA officers who risked their lives that night, and the work their colleagues do every single day all over the world,” Clinton said.
“I took responsibility and, as part of that, before I left office I launched reforms to help protect our people in the field,” Clinton said.
Prior to her testimony, several influential people linked to the Democrats slammed the committee for using Benghazi to discredit Clinton and damage her bid for president.
Striking a somber tone, Clinton said that losing any member of her staff as secretary of state was “deeply painful” for the entire State Department as well as her personally, and recalled how she had asked Stevens to go to Libya in the first place, then stood at Andrews Air Force base as his flag-draped casket was brought home from Libya.
Clinton noted that an independent Accountability Review Board which she set up as secretary had pulled no punches, unveiling 29 recommendations for improving security for U.S. diplomats abroad.
Clinton largely stayed away from political rhetoric, but towards the end of her opening remarks, her voice seemed to catch briefly as she spoke about how proud she had been to represent America abroad as secretary of state.
In his opening statement, Republican Committee Chairman Gowdy also praised the four Americans who died in the Benghazi attacks. He called them heroes who had “believed in service and sacrifice” and promised justice for their families and the truth about what happened.
He also implicitly rejected claims by the Clinton campaign that the hearing was primarily a partisan activity, saying that unlike seven other congressional probes on the topic, it had established new parameters for the investigation and unearthed new troves of evidence.
“I understand there are people, frankly, in both parties that have suggested that this investigation is about you,” Gowdy told Clinton.
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Photo credit: CBS News.