Agence France Presse
Published — Thursday 10 January 2013
Last update 10 January 2013 4:56 am
WASHINGTON: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may make a long-awaited appearance before lawmakers on Jan. 22 to be quizzed about the deadly attack on a US mission in Libya, a senator said Tuesday.
Clinton had initially been due to testify to US lawmakers in late December after a scathing inquiry blamed “grossly inadequate” security at the diplomatic outpost in Benghazi for failing to protect staff there. But she was forced to cancel her testimony and send in her two deputy secretaries instead when she fell ill with a virulent stomach bug, and later suffered a concussion and blood clot.
Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed when a wave of heavily-armed militants overran the compound and a nearby annex on Sept. 11, unleashing a bloody and terrifying eight-hour assault.
The Accountability Review Board set up by Clinton to investigate the attack slammed “systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels within two bureaus of the State Department” responsible for security.
Assistant Secretary Eric Boswell, head of the bureau of diplomatic security, resigned his post after the report was released and was placed on administrative leave along with three other senior staff.
But Republican lawmakers have been itching to grill Clinton before she wraps up her four years in office in a few weeks, after they accused the US administration of some kind of cover-up over the deadly assault.
Senator Bob Corker, ranking Republican member of the Senate Foreign Relations committee, told MSNBC television he had been in discussions with Clinton’s top aides about setting a new date for her to testify.
“My sense is her hearing probably will take place the morning of the 22nd,” Corker said.
There was no immediate confirmation of the date from the State Department. Clinton only returned to work on Monday after a month-long absence due to ill-health, and is busy drawing up her schedule for her final weeks in office.