Continued from page 2

Benghazi — the cradle of the 2011 Libyan revolution that toppled dictator Moammar Gadhafi — had become in the months before the attack a hotbed of Islamic extremism and the site of a number of small or unsuccessful terrorist attacks against Western diplomatic and aid targets.

The security requests

In a series of increasingly urgent electronic messages, U.S. diplomats on the ground in Libya asked for more security, but their requests were turned down or ignored in Washington.

Mrs. Clinton said Wednesday that she had no role in those decisions.

“The specific security requests pertaining to Benghazi, you know, were handled by the security professionals in the department,” she said. “I didn’t see those requests. They didn’t come to me. I didn’t approve them. I didn’t deny them.”

Mrs. Clinton added that the frugal instincts of some midlevel State Department managers had contributed to inadequate security.

“I do think that there became a culture of reaction,” she said, “[of] husbanding resources and trying to figure out how to do as much with as little as possible.”

The State Department report said that constant congressional cuts to the State Department annual budget requests caused senior managers to deny requests for additional funding.

Republicans noted that State Department officials had testified repeatedly during recent months that their decisions in the months preceding the Benghazi attack were not based on budget concerns.

“Robert Baldre, your chief financial officer for diplomatic security, stated, and I quote, ‘I do not feel that we have ever been at a point where we have sacrificed security due to lack of funding,’” Rep. Steven Chabot, Ohio Republican, told Mrs. Clinton.

“Our prioritization was certainly imperfect,” Mrs. Clinton acknowledged, but added, “The funds provided by Congress were inadequate. So somehow we have to work on both ends of that equation.”

White House correspondent Susan Crabtree contributed to this report.