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Hillary Clinton Accepts Public Service Award In Beverly Hills

BEVERLY HILLS ( — Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived at a Beverly Hills gala to much fanfare on Wednesday as she prepared to accept an award for her public service.

Local volunteers from a national organization called "Ready for Hillary 2016" were organized outside the Beverly Wilshire hotel, where the Pacific Council on International Policy would be honoring the secretary.

The Council awarded Clinton with the inaugural Warren Christopher Public Service Award, named after the former secretary of state who served under her husband, former President Bill Clinton, from 1993 to 1996.

A lawyer and decorated diplomat, Christopher died in 2011 at the age of 85, having also served as deputy secretary of state during the Carter administration.

He had also been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, in 1981 for his role in negotiating the release of 52 American hostages held in Iran.

The award in his name honors "the public service of others whose work reflects his distinctive leadership qualities," according to the Pacific Council, which considers itself "the premier international affairs organization focused on policy issues of special resonance to the West Coast", according to its website.

The gala happened the same day members of Congress are investigating a deadly attack on an embassy in Libya. Dramatic testimony about the Benghazi massacre last September, including criticism of how it was handled by Clinton and the Obama administration, was underway in Washington, D.C.

Clinton made no mention of that in Beverly Hills, and thanked Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa while taking the stage.

In her remarks she addressed, among other things, the crackdown on international cyber threats.

"The majority of cyber threats that are attacking military and civilian governmental assets as well as our private sector assets is originating from China," Clinton said.

Clinton stepped down as secretary of state in February after four years of service under the Obama administration, making way for John Kerry.

It marks her first time as a private citizen in 20 years following her service as first lady, senator and a failed bid to win the Democratic nomination for president in 2008 which led to her appointment as secretary of state.

She has yet to state definitively whether she plans to run for president in 2016.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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