Clinton to face Congress on Benghazi

Olivier Knox

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will testify publicly to Congress on the findings of the State Department's investigation into the deadly Sept. 11 attack on the American compound in Benghazi, Libya, a top lawmaker said Friday.

Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Clinton had agreed to come before her panel to discuss a probe into the attack by the State Department's accountability review board (ARB). The congresswoman did not specify a date.

"As we anticipate the release of the ARB report, I look forward to discussing with the Secretary what corrective measures has the Department undertaken to address problems identified in the months following the Benghazi attack, including security of our posts, threat assessments, host government responsibilities, and coordination with other U.S. security agencies," the lawmaker said in a statement.

Ros-Lehtinen's office said the ARB report was expected next week and that Clinton "will be testifying soon thereafter" to her committee and to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The assault claimed the lives of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. Obama initially connected the attack with the Sept. 11, 2001, strikes rhetorically as "acts of terror" but the administration went on to link it to popular Muslim anger over an Internet video ridiculing Islam.

Republicans have accused the administration of misleading the public by playing down intelligence that it was a terrorist attack. They have also charged that the administration ignored requests for increased security in Benghazi and expressions of concern about extremists operating in the eastern Libyan city.

The White House flatly denies deliberately misleading the public.

The dispute over what happened in Benghazi—and how it was portrayed—has ensnared a top contender to replace Clinton, American Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice.

The White House has described GOP lawmakers as being gripped by a politically fueled "obsession" with a series of television appearances Rice made shortly after the attack in which she linked it to the video. Obama has repeatedly and forcefully defended Rice.

In late November, White House press secretary Jay Carney said the United States still does not know who carried out the attack.