Clinton Aide on Benghazi: 'We Have to Do Better'

State Department officials testify before Senate, House panels

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 20, 2012 12:08 PM CST

(Newser) – Two of Hillary Clinton's top deputies went before a Senate panel today to take their lumps over the department's security shortcomings in the Benghazi attack, reports Politico. Two quotes sum up their main message:

  • "We learned some very hard and painful lessons in Benghazi," said William Burns. "We are already acting on them. We have to do better.”
  • "Clearly, mistakes occurred," said fellow deputy Thomas Nides. "We need to figure out how to make sure this does not happen again." He added that the department is working quickly to put into place recommendations from a critical independent report.

Republican Bob Corker seemed to give them the most grief, sounding a little skeptical about promises of reform, reports the New York Times, he said. ”The culture of the State Department is one that needs to be reformed." He also made what the Washington Post calls a "wry" reference to the elephant in the room: “Maybe the next secretary of state can help with this." The comment got no response from panel chairman John Kerry, widely expected to replace Hillary Clinton. Nides and Burns also testify before a House panel today.

Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, left, and fellow deputy Thomas Nides testify on Capitol Hill Thursday.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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