Clinton to Testify on Benghazi Attack at Open Hearing

Clinton to Testify on Benghazi Attack at Open Hearing

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will soon testify before US lawmakers at an open-door hearing about the deadly September attack on the US mission in Benghazi, Libya, a top lawmaker said.

Clinton will appear before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs “to discuss, in an open hearing, the findings and recommendations” in a State Department report on the attack, committee chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said on Friday.

Ros-Lehtinen’s office said the report from the Accountability Review Board was due to be released next week, and that Clinton would testify “soon thereafter.”

No specific date was given for Clinton’s testimony. 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 U.S. security agencies.”

Clinton will also appear before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a committee official told AFP, without giving further details.

The US ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and three other Americans were killed in the September 11 assault on the US mission in Benghazi.

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.