Clinton won’t testify at Benghazi hearings due to concussion

The National Defense University hosts a conversation with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, moderated by Frank Sesno, Director of the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University, at NDU in Washington, D.C., on August 16, 2011. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will not be able to testify at the Benghazi hearings this week after suffering a concussion on Saturday. 

Clinton sustained a concussion when she fainted from dehydration caused by a stomach virus. She is working from home this week as advised by her doctor.

“She was ready to testify. She very much wanted to. She was preparing to. And except for this illness, she would have been out there herself,” said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.

Clinton was scheduled to appear on Thursday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and House Foreign Affairs Committee. She was expected to testify on the Accountability Review Board’s (ARB) findings on whether the State Department had provided adequate security for the U.S. Embassy in Libya prior to the deadly attack on Sept. 11.

Instead, Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns and Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Thomas R. Nides will testify in her place.

“In her letter today to the two committees, [she] made clear that she looks forward to continuing to engage them in January and she will be open to whatever they consider appropriate in that regard,” said Nuland.

The Benghazi consulate attack claimed the lives of 4 Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. The State Department has been criticized for denying multiple requests for additional security by Stevens, who expressed concerns about the deteriorating conditions in Libya.

Clinton convened the ARB shortly after the attack to review the State Department’s handling of the requests for additional security.

The ARB’s leads – Former U.S. Ambassador Thomas Pickering and retired Admiral Mike Mullen – are scheduled to provide classified briefings to lawmakers on Wednesday. Pickering and Mullen’s testimonies will not be open to the public.

The unclassified hearings will be held the following day. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s open hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. and the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s is set for 1 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 20.

 

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