President Obama on Saturday vowed to hold his administration “accountable” for September’s attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, saying he took ultimate responsibility for any security lapses.
“What my attitude on this is is if we find out there was a big breakdown and somebody didn’t do their job, they’ll be held accountable,” said Obama in an interview with MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, according to a report on that network’s website.
“Ultimately as Commander-in-Chief I am responsible and I don’t shy away from that responsibility," Obama added.
The full interview, conducted after a rally in Nashua, N.H., is slated to air on Monday.
GOP lawmakers and presidential nominee Mitt Romney have hammered the president, accusing the administration of taking too long to identify the attack in Benghazi, which claimed the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, as an act of terrorism.
In the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11 assault, White House officials blamed the violence on anti-American anger sparked by a film critical of Islam.
Administration officials, though, say they based their assessments on intelligence available at the time and that subsequent information showed that the attack had been planned.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has also launched a probe questioning why additional security measures were not deployed prior to the attack.
Last week, Issa released diplomatic cables from Libya detailing embassy request for additional security and a sharply worded letter to the president, calling on him to explain if protection for American diplomats was downgraded prior to the assault. Democrats, though, have charged Republicans with politicizing the deaths of the four Americans.