In an interview in Peru, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said any blame for security problems before the deadly attack on the U.S. embassy in Libya lies with her.
"I take responsibility" for what happened on September 11, Clinton said in an interview with CNN's Elise Labott.
Clinton told CNN that President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are not involved in security decisions, Clinton said. "I want to avoid some kind of political gotcha," she said.
Clinton arrived for the long-planned women's event in Lima after another weekend of criticism from Republicans over the Obama administration's initial explanation of the Sept. 11 attack and security at the consulate in Benghazi, where the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans died.
Her arrival coincided with a call from the chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., for Clinton to answer more questions about what was known about the security situation in Libya in the period leading up to the attack as well as the State Department's priorities on paying for and protecting diplomatic missions abroad.
Ros-Lehtinen took issue with State Department officials who called the assault on the Benghazi consulate by many dozens of heavily armed militants "unprecedented." She argued that the threat of such an attack, particularly on the anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, "cannot be news to anyone" after strikes on other U.S. diplomatic missions over the past two decades.
"How can anyone consider such an attack to be unprecedented?" Ros-Lehtinen asked Clinton in a letter released by the congresswoman's office in Washington. (Continues)