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Retiring Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y., said the hearing was a "ruse" designed to make the Obama administration look bad, a statement that drew a quick rebuke from Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., who said Ackerman’s accusation was partisan in itself.
Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., ticked off a long list of incidents involving Westerners in Libya in the months before the raid, including attacks with rocket-propelled grenades and improvised explosive devices. Just two days before the Sept. 11 assault, Stevens had requested additional security.
Burns pointed out that the report found no "specific tactical threat," but said Inhofe was correct to identify a troubling pattern. "We did not do a good enough job in trying to connect the dots," Burns said. "We made the mistaken assumption that we wouldn’t become a major target."
Stevens was killed in the attack along with information specialist Sean Smith and former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, who were contractors working for the CIA. Stevens was the first U.S. ambassador killed in the line of duty since 1979.
The conclusions of the Accountability Review Board that Clinton convened led to the resignation or reassignment of four State Department officials who worked in two bureaus — Diplomatic Security and Near East Affairs — that were singled out for the harshest criticism in the report.
The resignations did little to mollify lawmakers who insisted that Clinton testify in the coming weeks despite her plan to leave the administration. Kerry said she would appear before the panel in January.
"She is ultimately responsible for the department and U.S. posts around the world. Her testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is indispensable to any effort to address this failure and put in place a process to ensure this never happens again," said Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.
Associated Press writers Kimberly Dozier, Donna Cassata and Richard Lardner contributed to this report.
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