**Written by Doug Powers
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday tried to douse a political firestorm around the deadly assault on a U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya, saying she is responsible for the security of American diplomatic outposts.
“I take responsibility” for the protection of U.S. diplomats, Clinton said during a visit to Peru. But she said an investigation now under way will ultimately determine what happened in the attack that left four Americans dead.
The attack on the night of September 11 killed Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, and three other Americans at the American consulate in Benghazi.
Clinton said President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are not involved in security decisions.
“I want to avoid some kind of political gotcha,” she added, noting that it is close to the election.
It’s worth mentioning that one of the topics at Tuesday’s Obama/Romney spar will be national security, so Hillary saying she wants to “avoid political gotcha” by absorbing responsibility for Benghazi the day before the debate doesn’t feel genuine no matter what the motive. But what about the administration’s evolving spin on this story does feel genuine?
However, like any prudent government leader managing a crisis, Hillary delegated the blame.
Meanwhile, are preparations underway for a “Baracktober surprise”?
Administration officials say the White House has put special operations strike forces on standby and moved drones into the skies above Africa, ready to hit militant targets from Libya to Mali, if U.S. investigators can find the al-Qaida-linked group responsible for the death of the U.S. ambassador in Libya.
But the officials say the administration also is weighing whether the short-term payoff of being able to claim retribution against al-Qaida is worth the risk that such strikes would be ineffective and rile governments in the region.
Details were provided by three current and one former administration official, as well as an analyst who was approached by the White House for help. All four spoke only on condition of anonymity.
**Written by Doug Powers
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