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Clinton says U.S. must maintain diplomats, aid workers in young democracies

| Friday, Oct. 12, 2012, 8:00 p.m.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says the United States must continue sending diplomats and aid workers to the Arab world's emerging democracies, despite last month's deadly attack in Libya, during a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, addressing criticism of the Obama administration's handling of a deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya, defended the need for American diplomats and aid workers in the Arab world's young democracies, even amid a growing threat from al-Qaida spinoffs.

“We will not retreat,” she said on Friday in a speech at a Washington think tank. “We will never prevent every act of violence or terrorism, or achieve perfect security,” Clinton told the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “Our people can't live in bunkers and do their jobs. But it is our solemn responsibility to constantly improve, to reduce the risks our people face and make sure they have the resources they need.”

Clinton said she wanted to find out exactly what happened in Benghazi more than anyone, but did not go into the specifics of the consulate's security. Instead, she focused on the larger question of why U.S. diplomats were stationed in the lawless Libyan city.

“Diplomacy, by its very nature, is often practiced in dangerous places,” she said.

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