Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told CNN that she takes "full responsibility" for security at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi before the attack that resulted in the deaths of four Americans, the network reported Monday evening.
She also pushed back at mounting criticism from Republicans about what President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden knew about security concerns before the Sept. 11 attack, which took the life of U.S. Ambassador J.Christopher Stevens.
"I want to avoid some kind of political gotcha," she said in an interview with CNN in Peru, where she arrived Monday for a diplomatic visit. She said Obama and Biden are not involved in security decisions.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his running mate Rep. Paul Ryan have stepped up their criticism of the Obama administration's actions before and since the attack, suggesting that the officials have not been transparent with the public about the incident, and more broadly arguing that it is evidence of a failed foreign policy strategy in the Middle East.