Clinton tells lawmakers she is open to testifying on Benghazi in future

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrote to the leaders of the House and Senate foreign affairs panels on Monday to tell them she may testify in future on the Benghazi attack, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.

Clinton was expected to testify at a hearing this Thursday but will be sending her two deputies, William Burns and Thomas Nides, after contracting a stomach virus and suffering a concussion during a fall last weekend. Thursday's hearing will be preceded by a closed-door briefing of both committees on Wednesday.

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“It was her intention to be there. If she had not been ill, she would be there. And she's also committed, including in a letter today to the committee chairmen, that she looks forward to having an ongoing conversation with them herself,” Nuland said at her daily briefing Monday. “She has, including in a letter today to the two committees, 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.”

This week's Capitol Hill meetings are aimed at informing Congress of the findings of the independent, bipartisan Accountability Review Board (ARB) that has spent the past two months examining the security shortfalls at the U.S. mission in Benghazi prior to the Sept. 11 attack. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans died during the attack, which came after Stevens had requested additional safety measures in Libya and was turned down by the State Department.

“The ARB has completed its work,” Nuland said. “Its report has gone to the secretary this morning. She now has it. Our current plan is that we expect that the ARB leads, Ambassador Thomas Pickering and Admiral Mullen, will brief the [Senate and House panels] on Wednesday at their request in closed session.”