Clinton to skip Benghazi hearing, Kerry looms as replacement
Washington, DC, United States (4E) – State Secretary Hillary Clinton is not attending the congressional hearings on the Benghazi consulate attack scheduled on Thursday as she is still recovering from an illness at home.
Clinton’s stomach virus was aggravated last week by a concussion she suffered after fainting due to dehydration, according to deputy assistant secretary Philippe Reines.
In place of Clinton, William J. Burns, Under Secretary for Political Affairs, and Thomas R. Nides, Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources, will testify to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee on the Benghazi incident.
However, House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), said Saturday that Clinton will be required to testify in the future.
Ros-Lehtinen is trying to hold accountable State Department officials for the death of U.S. ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other Americans in the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.
She said questions remain about State Department threat assessments and decision-making on Benghazi. Despite sifting through classified and unclassified documents.
Meanwhile, Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) is set to replace Clinton, who has indicated she will no longer serve during President Barack Obama’s second term. Kerry is a senior ranking Democrat who ran for president in 2004.
He is currently the chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee. If appointed state secretary, he will have to resign his post in the senate.
Earlier, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, loomed as Clinton’s likely successor. But she withdrew her nomination for the post amid strong Republican opposition because of her differing statements on the Benghazi attack.