- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The sister of the U.S. ambassador to Libya killed in Benghazi says she blames Congress, not former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, for the lack of security that resulted in her brother’s death.

Dr. Anne Stevens, chief of pediatric rheumatology at Seattle Children’s Hospital, is the sister of Ambassador Chris Stevens and has served as a family spokesperson since his death in 2012. In an interview with The New Yorker, she said “it doesn’t look like there’s anything new” in the Benghazi reports released by House Republicans and Democrats earlier this week.

“It is clear, in hindsight, that the facility was not sufficiently protected by the State Department and the Defense Department,” Dr. Stevens said. “But what was the underlying cause? Perhaps if Congress had provided a budget to increase security for all missions around the world, then some of the requests for more security in Libya would have been granted. Certainly the State Department is under-budgeted.

“I do not blame Hillary Clinton or Leon Panetta,” she added. “They were balancing security efforts at embassies and missions around the world. And their staffs were doing their best to provide what they could with the resources they had. The Benghazi mission was understaffed. We know that now. But, again, Chris knew that. It wasn’t a secret to him. He decided to take the risk to go there. It is not something they did to him. It is something he took on himself.”

Dr. Stevens defended Mrs. Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, for taking “full responsibility” for the security breakdown in Benghazi.

“She took measures to respond to the review board’s recommendations,” she said. “She established programs for a better security system. But it is never going to be perfect.

“Part of being a diplomat is being out in the community,” she said. “We all recognize that there’s a risk in serving in a dangerous environment. Chris thought that was very important, and he probably would have done it again. I don’t see any usefulness in continuing to criticize her. It is very unjust.”

Dr. Stevens also criticized politicians for using the tragedy in Benghazi as a political attack.

“It’s irrelevant to bring that up again and again,” she said. “It is done purely for political reasons. With the many issues in the current election, to use that incident — and to use Chris’s death as a political point — is not appropriate.”

She said her brother “had a lot of respect for Secretary Clinton.”

“He admired her ability to intensely read the issues and understand the whole picture,” she added.

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