Clinton to testify on Benghazi attack report - U.S. lawmaker

WASHINGTON Sat Dec 8, 2012 10:25am IST

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during a news conference at Stormont Castle in Belfast December 7, 2012. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during a news conference at Stormont Castle in Belfast December 7, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will testify on a report expected to be released next week on the deadly attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, a top Republican lawmaker said on Friday.

"I have just received confirmation from Secretary Clinton's office that the secretary of state will appear before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs to discuss, in an open hearing, the findings and the recommendations in the report," Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said in a statement.

Ros-Lehtinen is chair of the House of Representatives Foreign Relations Committee, which has already held several hearings and classified briefings on the attack.

The attack killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, and raised questions about the adequacy of security in far-flung posts.

Republicans have criticized the Obama administration for its flawed early public explanations of the attack, and then for shifting explanations of why talking points given to U.S Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice were changed to delete a reference to al Qaeda.

Ros-Lehtinen said she expected an accountability review board convened by the State Department to release a report on the attack sometime next week.

The review board, led by veteran diplomatic heavyweight Thomas Pickering, is expected to consider whether enough attention was given to potential threats and how Washington responded to security requests from U.S. diplomats in Libya.

Ros-Lehtinen said she wanted to hear from Clinton about steps the State Department has taken to deal with problems in the "security of our posts, threat assessments, host government responsibilities and coordination with other U.S. security agencies."

The committee's press release did not give a date for the hearing with Clinton, but said it expected it to happen "soon after" the review board's report is released.

(Reporting by Doug Palmer; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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