House panel plans hearing on US intervention in Libya

The House Foreign Affairs Committee is planning a hearing next week on the U.S. intervention in Libya, the first formal congressional inquiry into the five-day-old military campaign.
 
A senior committee aide told The Hill on Wednesday that Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) was eyeing a hearing when Congress returns from recess. The hearing “is still in the planning stages,” the aide said.

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Ros-Lehtinen has formally invited Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, or her top deputy as a designee, to testify before the committee next week and is waiting to hear back from the State Department, the aide said. An official announcement of the hearing is expected soon.
 
The inquiry comes amid complaints from lawmakers in both parties about the extent of consultation by the Obama administration with Congress about a military operation. The White House held one official briefing for congressional leaders on Friday, before airstrikes began and before President Obama left on an overseas trip, and a group of committee aides received a classified briefing on Tuesday at the Capitol.

Requests for additional briefings for members have thus far been ignored, the aide said.
 
“Everyone right now is waiting to hear more from the administration,” the aide said. Lawmakers have been on recess since the military action began.
 
In a statement issued on Sunday, Ros-Lehtinen said she was “concerned that the president has yet to clearly define for the American people what vital United States security interests he believes are currently at stake in Libya. We need to know what the president believes ultimately must be accomplished in Libya to protect and advance U.S. interests there.”
 
Aides for the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services committees said Wednesday morning there were no current plans for hearings. A spokesman for the House Armed Services Committee could not be immediately reached for comment.