Clinton to Testify on Benghazi Before Senate Next Week

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will testify before a Senate panel next week about the deadly attack on a U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya, a day before lawmakers consider the nomination of her successor.

Clinton will make her appearance on Jan. 23, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said in an announcement on its website yesterday. The panel will hold a hearing Jan. 24 on the nomination of Massachusetts Democratic Senator John Kerry, President Barack Obama’s choice as the next secretary of state.

Republican lawmakers have said it’s important to hear from Clinton directly on Benghazi before she leaves office, and her testimony may help clear the way for Kerry’s confirmation by the Senate. The secretary also is scheduled to appear Jan. 23 before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, where she will answer lawmakers’ questions about the Sept. 11 attack.

Republicans have called on Clinton to explain the security shortcomings in Benghazi. 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 review 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.

Election Flashpoint

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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