Washington: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is set to testify before Congress on the attack on their consulate in Benghazi, Libya which left its ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans dead on September 11, 2012. She is also expected to appear before the House foreign affairs committee on January 23.
The committee's chairman says he wants to focus on why the attack was not better anticipated and what needs to be changed at the State Department to protect diplomats serving abroad. An independent review of the attack found "systematic failures and leadership management deficiencies" at the State Department.
Clinton was originally due to appear before the committee on December 20, 2012 but had to cancel after she suffered a concussion when she fainted due to dehydration. Doctors later found she had a blood clot in her head and hospitalized her for several days.
"It is important to learn all we can about what happened in Benghazi because at the end of the day, it could happen again. After all, al-Qaeda plans attacks over and over again," Royce said in a statement.
The attack in Benghazi, the first to kill a US ambassador in the line of duty since 1979, resulted in sharp criticism of the State Department. An independent inquiry in December found widespread failures in both security planning and internal management in the department.
The State Department's top security officer resigned from his post and three other employees were relieved of their duties. The controversy also cost Susan Rice, the US ambassador to the United Nations, her chance to succeed Clinton as secretary of state.
Republicans in Congress harshly criticized Rice for her comments on several television talk shows in which she said the attack on the US compound in Benghazi appeared to be the result of a spontaneous demonstration rather than a planned assault. Even though Clinton publicly accepted overall responsibility for Benghazi and the safety and security of US diplomats overseas, Rice eventually withdrew her name from consideration for the top diplomatic job.
(With Additional Inputs From Reuters)