Clinton tears up at Benghazi hearing
01:16 - Source: CNN

Editor’s Note: Read a version of this story in Arabic.

Story highlights

NEW: Secretary of state completes more than five hours of sometimes contentious hearings

Libya wanted to provide security, but lacked the capacity, Clinton said

"I take responsibility," Clinton tells Senate committee

Clinton's appearance before Congress was delayed due to health issues

At times angry and choked with emotion, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday took on Republican critics of her department’s handling of the September terrorist attack in Libya that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans, but repeatedly distanced herself from a direct role in specific situations.

“As I have said many times since September 11, I take responsibility,” Clinton told two long-anticipated congressional hearings examining the attack that became a major issue in the November presidential election.

Conservative Republicans challenged Clinton on the lack of security at the diplomatic compound in Benghazi, where Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others were killed, as well as the erroneous account provided four days later by U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice that the attack grew spontaneously from a protest over an anti-Islam film produced in the United States.

Sen. Ron Johnson, a tea party backed Wisconsin Republican serving his first term, persistently questioned Clinton on Wednesday morning about what he described as Rice “purposely misleading” the American people.

Security Clearance: Clinton lays out daunting security challenges in North Africa