Hillary Clinton to testify on Benghazi attack at open hearing

Hillary Clinton to testify on Benghazi attack at open hearing
Washington:  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will testify this month before US lawmakers at Senate and House hearings about the deadly September attack on the US mission in Benghazi, Libya, top lawmakers said Friday.

Clinton "has committed to testify before the committee before the end of the session" of Congress, Senator John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a letter to fellow members.

Kerry said the top US diplomat will discuss findings of the State Department's Accountability Review Board, which other officials said was expected to release its Benghazi findings next week.

No specific date was given, and the letter did not clarify whether the hearing would be open to the public. The next session of Congress starts on January 3, but typically lawmakers wrap up business by the end of the year.

Clinton is also due to testify before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs "to discuss, in an open hearing, the findings and recommendations" of the review board, committee chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said.

Ros-Lehtinen's office said the board's report was due to be released next week, and that Clinton would testify "soon thereafter."

No specific date was given for Clinton's testimony for the House committee, either. It was however unlikely that she would testify next week, as she is due to leave Monday on a trip to north Africa and Abu Dhabi.

The lawmaker said she hoped Clinton would discuss "corrective measures" undertaken by the State Department in the wake of the attack, specifically on "security of our posts, threat assessments, host government responsibilities, and coordination with other US security agencies."

The September 11 attack in Benghazi killed US ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, and quickly raised questions about US security operations and potential resurgence of terrorist activities.

Susan Rice, the US envoy to the United Nations, has come under sharp criticism from Republican lawmakers for her comments shortly after the attack, when she said it had stemmed from a protest against an anti-Islam film.

Rice has since admitted that the intelligence community's talking points "were incorrect in a key respect: there was no protest or demonstration in Benghazi."

Republican lawmakers are now questioning whether Rice should be nominated to succeed Clinton, who is widely expected to step down from her post near the beginning of President Barack Obama's second term in late January.

Clinton said on October 16 that she took responsibility for the incident, and launched a comprehensive review of security operations at the US mission in Libya.

She briefed lawmakers behind closed doors shortly after the attack, which has now been linked to militants with ties to Al-Qaeda.
Story First Published: December 08, 2012 11:28 IST

................................ Advertisement ................................

................................ Advertisement ................................