Posted at: 01/23/2013 7:39 AM
Updated at: 01/23/2013 11:49 AM
WASHINGTON (AP) - Republican senators have been expressing their anger over the Benghazi attack directly to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton today.
She appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to answer questions about the attack on the consulate in Libya in September that left four Americans dead, including the U.S. ambassador.
Republican Sen. John McCain dismissed Clinton's explanation of events, and also criticized the administration's response to warnings about a worsening security situation in Libya.
Clinton said her department is moving swiftly and aggressively to strengthen security at U.S. missions worldwide. She again took responsibility for the department's missteps leading up to the assault at the consulate in Benghazi. Her voice cracked at times as she spoke of seeing the caskets of the Americans return to the United States, and comforting family members of the victims.
When she was pressed by one Republican senator about U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice's initial description of the attack as stemming from a protest over a video, Clinton asked, "What difference does it make?" She says she's focused on improving security, rather than on revisiting the "talking points" used by Rice.
Meanwhile, the Secretary of State says the FBI is "following some very promising leads and putting together cases" as they investigate the Sept. 11 attack on the diplomatic mission in Benghazi that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans.
Clinton told lawmakers on Wednesday that she had gotten an update on the probe in recent days from FBI Director Robert Mueller, who returned from a trip to Libya last week. She said the FBI is now trying to determine "how best to respond" to the leads they have.
But Clinton vowed that those responsible for the attack would be brought to justice even if it takes some time.
"We will respond," she said.