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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, walking with her Peruvian counterpart Rafael Roncagliolo, traveled to Peru to promote entrepreneurship among women. During the trip, she spoke to reporters about the Benghazi attacks.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Monday in an interview with NBC News that she worked day and night following the fatal attacks on the Benghazi consulate to ensure the safety of other government workers abroad.
She also discouraged the current debate about who should be blamed for the security breach that led to the attacks.
"I really believe that tragedies like what happened in Benghazi should be viewed in a non-political way," Clinton continued. "Everybody should pull together as Americans."
Rather than focusing on who to blame for the attacks, the State Department stayed "focused not on why something happened that was for the intelligence community to determine, but what was happening and could happen,” Clinton said. “We did everything we could to keep our people safe, which is my primary responsibility.”
She told CNN: "I take responsibility. I'm in charge of the State Department's 60,000-plus people all over the world, 275 posts."
The attacks on the Benghazi consulate on Sept. 11 have become a political piñata leading up to the presidential elections in November.
Republicans have blamed the Obama administration for wavering on what triggered the attack. Initially, the White House said the attacks were a spontaneous, angry response to a low-budget movie maligning the Prophet Mohammad. The Obama administration has since said the attacks were carefully planned by terrorists.
Four Americans died in the attack, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Protests – some violent, others peaceful – emerged throughout the region and reached as far as Australia.
In a statement from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, officials said they are revising their initial assessment of the attack in Benghazi to reflect new information indicating that it was a "deliberate and organized terrorist attack carried out by extremists." NBC's Pete Williams reports.
On Monday, when asked if the initial reports indicated that there had been an intelligence failure, Clinton said she didn’t want to engage in a “blame game.”
"What we want to do is get to the bottom of what happened, figure out what we're going to do to protect people and prevent it from happening again, and then track down who ever did it and bring them to justice," Clinton said, echoing Biden's comments during the debate.
The White House has confirmed that the terror attack that killed four Americans at the Libya consulate was orchestrated by al-Qaida sympathizers, but questions remain about when it was planned. NBC's Andrea Mitchell reports.
In the media, what happened in Benghazi has become the foreign policy go-to question. Moderator Martha Raddatz made Libya the first topic of discussion during the vice presidential debate last week.
“When you take a look at what has happened just in the last few weeks, they sent the U.N. ambassador out to say that this was because of a protest and a YouTube video,” Congressman Paul Ryan said during the debate with Vice President Joe Biden. “It took the president two weeks to acknowledge that this was a terrorist attack.”
On Friday, Clinton reaffirmed U.S. support of Libya, saying pulling back would be a "costly strategic mistake."
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice discusses the financial aid the U.S. provides to Middle Eastern countries.
The terrorists who attacked the mission do not represent the Libyan people, she said, noting the protests that broke out after the attacks against the militias in Libya.
"The United States will not retreat," Clinton said on Friday. "We will keep leading and we will stay engaged in the Maghreb and everywhere in the world, including in those hard places where America’s interests and values are at stake."
NBC News' Isolde Raftery contributed to this report.
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