Hillary Clinton testifies before the House Select Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, on October 22, 2015 (AFP Photo/Saul Loeb)
Hillary Clinton stood her ground through a grueling 11 hours of questioning over the 2012 Benghazi attacks, parrying Republican blows at a high-stakes congressional hearing that could impact her bid for the White House.
Partisan fireworks exploded repeatedly between Republican and Democrat members of the House Select Committee on Benghazi during the marathon grilling that at times took on the character of an interrogation.
But the Democratic frontrunner for president was relentlessly composed as she accused her rivals of exploiting the deadly attacks in Libya — which came under her watch as secretary of state — for political gain.
In her highly anticipated testimony Clinton accepted — as she has done in the past — her share of blame for the attack which cost the lives of four Americans including ambassador Christopher Stevens.
“I take responsibility for what happened in Benghazi,” she said. “I’m here to honor the service of those four men.”
But she firmly rebutted claims that she failed to boost security at the US diplomatic compound overrun by Islamist extremists on September 11, 2012, saying she was never consulted directly about requests for additional measures.
The Benghazi tragedy has hovered over Clinton for three years, threatening to upend her White House candidacy, especially after the inquiry launched 17 months ago led to revelations that she used a homebrew email account and server while she was top diplomat.
Her strong performance at the hearing could help Clinton convince skeptical voters that it is time to move on from the controversy that has dogged her campaign.
Had she stumbled badly on such a consequential day, it would have invited enhanced scrutiny of her judgment and diplomatic acumen during the run-up to the November 2016 election.
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Source:: PM Newspaper