WASHINGTON Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton paid tribute Thursday to slain U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, calling him a "fallen hero" who understood that diplomacy requires taking risks.
About two months after Stevens and three other Americans were killed in an attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi on Sept. 11, Clinton said the State Department and Pentagon are reviewing security at high-threat diplomatic posts to determine what improvements should be made.
But Clinton also stressed that diplomacy in unstable areas is inherently dangerous and praised Stevens for volunteering for difficult jobs to serve his country.
"Our country mourns a fallen hero," she said of Stevens at a speech honoring him and others receiving the Common Ground award for conflict resolution, negotiation and peace building. The award was presented by the group Search for Common Ground, which is focused on ways of resolving conflicts.
Stevens "understood that there is no substitute for going beyond the embassy walls, building relationships, and finding common ground," she said. "We will never prevent every act of terrorism or achieve perfect security. And our diplomats cannot work in bunkers and do their jobs. We must accept a level of risk to protect this country we love and to advance our interests and values around the world."
Clinton's comments came as lawmakers step up demands for information about the Benghazi attack. Several congressional committees will hold classified hearings on the matter next week amid Republican charges that the Obama administration ignored increased threats to the mission. The State Department and FBI are also investigating.