Clinton leaves office as she ponders future run
Hillary Clinton has formally resigned as the 67th US secretary of state.
In a letter sent to President Barack Obama shortly before she was to leave the State Department for the last time in her official capacity, Mrs Clinton thanked her former foe for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.
"I am more convinced than ever in the strength and staying power of America's global leadership and our capacity to be a force for good in the world," she said in the letter.
Her resignation will be effective on the swearing-in of her successor, John Kerry, who was to take the oath of office in a private ceremony later.
Mrs Clinton left office with a final salvo for critics of the Obama administration's handling of the September attack on a US diplomatic mission in Libya. She said those critics didn't live in an "evidence-based world," and their refusal to "accept the facts" was unfortunate and regrettable for the political system.
Mrs Clinton said that the attack in Benghazi was the low point of her time as America's top diplomat. But she suggested that the furore over the assault would not affect whether she ran for president in 2016.
Although she insisted she has not decided what her future holds, she said she "absolutely" still plans to make a difference on issues she cares about in speeches and in a sequel to her 2003 memoir, 'Living History', that will focus largely on her years as secretary of state.
An independent panel she convened to look into the incident was scathing in its criticism of the State Department and singled out four officials for serious management and leadership failures.
But it also determined that there was no guarantee that extra personnel could have prevented the deaths of the US ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and three other Americans. Mrs Clinton herself was not blamed, although she has accepted responsibility for the situation.
Also yesterday, a suicide bomber linked to a domestic terror group exploded a device just outside the US Embassy in Ankara, Turkey, killing himself and a guard.
Meanwhile, Mrs Clinton remained coy about whether she would run for president in 2016.
"I am making no decisions," she said.