Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will testify before the House Foreign Affairs Committee next week to answer lawmakers’ questions about the deadly attack on a U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.
Clinton will make her appearance on Jan. 23, Representative Ed Royce, a California Republican and chairman of the committee, said yesterday in an e-mailed statement.
“My intention is for this hearing to focus on why this attack was not better anticipated, what leadership failures at the State Department existed, and what management deficiencies need to be corrected in order to better secure our diplomatic facilities abroad and protect our diplomats serving in them,” Royce said in his statement.
Clinton’s testimony may help clear the way for the confirmation hearings of President Barack Obama’s choice for her successor, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry. Republican lawmakers have said it’s important to hear from Clinton directly on the Benghazi attack before she leaves office.
Republicans have called on Clinton to appear before Congress to explain the security shortcomings that killed U.S. personnel in the Sept. 11 assault. Four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, died at the compound, where security was “grossly inadequate,” according to an independent review panel appointed by Clinton.
The panel found the State Department “demonstrated a lack of proactive leadership and management ability,” though the criticism was directed at officials below Clinton’s level.
Clinton, in a letter to Congress last month, said she accepted “every one” of the review board’s recommendations and vowed to correct the department’s failures. She said the State Department has begun working to hire additional diplomatic security for U.S. missions and is working with the Pentagon to dispatch hundreds of additional Marine Corps security guards to U.S. embassies and other facilities.
The Benghazi attack was a flashpoint in the presidential election, and Republicans have criticized the officials, such as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, for their early accounts of the circumstances.
Clinton’s congressional testimony has been delayed by health issues that prompted her monthlong absence from work.
Clinton, 65, was released from New York-Presbyterian Hospital on Jan. 2 after treatment for a blood clot discovered between her skull and brain during a check-up before her planned return last month.
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