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Will not rest till we track Benghazi attackers: Clinton

October 04, 2012 01:30 IST

The United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday vowed that the United States would not rest until it probes the attack on its consulate in Benghazi and tracks down those who killed "our people", but cautioned against jumping to any conclusion.

Four Americans including the US Ambassador to Libya were killed when the US Consulate in Benghazi was attacked by a violent mob over an anti-Islam film.

Initial reports said that it was a spontaneous protest, but subsequent investigation has led the US to declare it as a terrorist attack by people having some kind of links with Al Qaeda in the region.

"We are committed to a process that is as transparent as possible while balancing the needs of the investigation under way. It will take time before we have a complete understanding of what actually did happen," Clinton told reporters during a joint press availability with the Kazakh Foreign Minister Yerlan Idrisov.

"There are continuing questions about what exactly happened in Benghazi on that night three weeks ago, and we will not rest until we answer those questions and until we track down the terrorists who killed our people," she said.

Clinton said she has asked the Accountability Review Board, which she established after the Benghazi incident, to move as quickly as possible without sacrificing diligence and accuracy.

"In the interim, we will continue to provide as much accurate information as we can to the public and to the Congress," she said.

Headed by the former Ambassador Thomas Pickering, the board's mandate is to determine whether US security systems and procedures were appropriate in light of the threat environment, whether those systems and procedures were properly implemented and any lessons that may be relevant to their work around the world.

"No one wants to determine what happened that night in Benghazi more than the president and I do. No one is more committed to ensuring it doesn't happen again.

"And nobody will hold this department more accountable than we hold ourselves, because we served with and we knew the four men we lost. They are not just names or profiles to us. They are our colleagues and our friends," she said.

"In our initial reviews over the past two weeks, we have worked closely with other agencies, and we have learned a number of things," she said.

"But we have a lot of work to do to give complete and accurate responses to all the questions and statements that are swirling out there. So we have to keep working through lots of documents and talking to scores of individuals before we have a definitive accounting," she said.

"Over the course of this review, there will naturally be a number of statements made, some of it -- some of which will be borne out and some of which will not.

"So let's establish all the facts before we jump to any conclusions, and let's do so that we can get to the bottom of what did happen," Clinton said.

Lalit K Jha in Washington
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