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Lax security at Libya and other US diplomatic missions in the past? (+video)

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"Over the course of this review, there will naturally be a number of statements made, some of which will be borne out and some of which will not," Clinton warned. "I caution everyone against seizing on any single statement or piece of information to draw a final conclusion."

The State Department has convened at least a dozen accountability review boards to look into the deaths of American personnel in attacks on official buildings or vehicles overseas since the mid-1990s. Those attacks were committed in countries that included Jordan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Sudan.

However, only the findings of the Kenya and Tanzania bombing investigations are easily accessible to public.

The two boards — both chaired by a Republican-appointed former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, Adm. William J. Crowe — were not set up by then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright until November 1998 — three months after the attacks. And they did not issue their final reports until January 1999.

Clinton stressed Wednesday that such an investigation "will take time" as Republicans have expressed impatience for full details of any possible negligence before the Nov. 6 presidential election.

The chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., who plans to hold a hearing next week to question State Department officials about alleged security lapses, said he understood that the accountability review board's work was "critically important."

"It should not, however, be used by the State Department as an excuse for delaying efforts to address problems or answer specific questions," Issa said.

Clinton cautioned that the Benghazi Accountability Review Board, which will be led by another former Republican-appointed chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, should not be rushed to judgment.

"I am asking the board to move as quickly as possible without sacrificing accuracy," she told reporters. "In the interim, we will provide as much accurate information to the Congress and the public."

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