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Chris Stevens’ family: Don’t blame Clinton for Benghazi

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The sister of the U.S. ambassador to Libya killed in Benghazi said she doesn’t blame Hillary Clinton for Chris Stevens’ death, instead pointing to Congress for under-budgeting the State Department.

“I do not blame Hillary Clinton or Leon Panetta (for Stevens’ death). They were balancing security efforts at embassies and missions around the world,” Dr. Anne Stevens, who has acted as a spokesperson for the family, said in an interview with the New Yorker published Tuesday.

“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 underbudgeted,” she added. “I would love to hear they are drastically increasing the budget.”

Stevens also said that “it doesn’t look like there’s anything new” in the Benghazi reports released by House Republicans and Democrats earlier this week after two years spent investigating the 2012 attacks, and she expressed frustration with the politicization of the tragedy that killed her brother.

“Yes! Definitely politicized,” Stevens said. “Every report I read that mentions him specifically has a political bent, and accusatory bent.”

Stevens said that her brother fully understood the risks of his mission in Benghazi but thought it was too important for the U.S. to have a presence in Libya for him to not be there, emphasizing that it was “something he took on himself.”

She said Stevens also had a high opinion of then-secretary of state Clinton, saying “I know he had a lot of respect for Secretary Clinton. He admired her ability to intensely read the issues and understand the whole picture.”

Asked if she thought it was fair to make Benghazi an issue in the 2016 presidential election, Stevens said “to use Chris’s death as a political point — is not appropriate.”

By David Wright, CNN