Following an extended health scare that prevented her from appearing before Congress, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will finally testify under oath about the September 11 massacre in Benghazi, Libya. The UK Daily Mail reports:
Hillary Clinton will testify in front of Congress about the terrorist attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya - despite receiving a concussion and being hospitalized for a blood clot, it was revealed on Thursday. The Secretary of State cancelled appearances before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee after she fainted and hit her head on December 9. She sent two aides to testify in her place. Some conservatives initially claimed she was using the health issue to dodge testifying on the contentious issue ... The Washington Post reports that Clinton 'remains committed' to appearing in front of the Congressional committees, though no date has been set. The new House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman, Rep Edward Royce, said the government accountability report on the attack points to 'an unacceptable failure of leadership' leading up to the attack, according to the Post. Some Senate Republicans have threatened to block the confirmation of Sen John Kerry, Clinton's successor as Secretary of State, until Clinton testifies. Clinton has long said she planned to leave the job as the nation's top diplomat after Obama's first term.
The attack left four Americans, including our sitting ambassador, dead at the hands of radical jihadists. If and when Clinton arrives, she's sure to face a barrage of unanswered questions. I offered 12 such inquiries in a piece published last month, the most important of which pertain to the administration's negligence prior to the raid, and its inaction during the seven-hour siege. A sampling:
(3) Why were US security personnel pulled out of Libya, even as Amb. Stevens warned of heightened risks?
(4) Why was the Benghazi consulate operating below the bare minimum standards for a US diplomatic compound, especially after our government learned that at least ten known Islamist militias were operating in the city?
(7) Was the president made aware of the numerous desperate pleas for help from two former SEALs, who battled the terrorists for seven hours before being killed? If not, why not? If so, what was his response?
(8) Which government officials, specifically, watched the attack unfold in real time -- hour after excruciating hour -- via footage from an American drone? Was that drone armed?
(9) Why were American forces and resources not deployed to help defeat the enemy, particularly while several Americans were alive and urgently seeking reinforcements? Why was a key counterterrorism task force not convened during the attack?
I'd also be curious about the veracity of recent reports that some of the State Department officials who "resigned" over this outrage (including the infamous Charlene Lamb) have simply been reassigned, and remain on the payroll. Secretary Clinton might also be able to provide some answers on emerging indications that Libyan governmental officials were complicit in the deadly attacks. If true, this revelation would cast an even greater shadow upon our intervention in that country, and raise even more questions about the broader Arab Spring. Finally, there's a political element to all of this. Will the Benghazi scandal complicate any 2016 presidential plans Hillary may be contemplating? What about her health?
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