Kerry to inherit Benghazi headaches

Kerry to inherit Benghazi headaches

John KerryJohn Forbes KerryKentucky candidate takes heat for tweeting he'd like to use congressman for target practice Breitbart editor: Biden's son inked deal with Chinese government days after vice president’s trip State lawmakers pushing for carbon taxes aimed at the poor MORE will immediately have to deal with the aftermath of his predecessor's biggest crisis, the Sept. 11 attack in Benghazi, when he starts his first day at the State Department on Monday.

At least three congressional panels are planning further hearings on the terrorist attack that killed U.S. ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

And Republican lawmakers are still demanding that the agency answer questions about the lack of security at the U.S. mission in Libya as well as the inaccurate initial description of the attack.

Kerry’s predecessor at State, Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump can save Republicans and restore sanity to California in 2018 Breitbart News denies readership drop, alt-right label Mellman: The next war MORE, said she took responsibility for the department's deficiencies when she testified before Congress last week during a sometimes contentious hearing. Republicans were unsatisfied with her answers, however, and say they hope Kerry, who has vowed to work closely with his former Senate colleagues, will be more forthcoming since the attack didn't happen on his watch.

“I think (Republican lawmakers) are entirely optimistic about working with Mr. Kerry,” said one Republican aide. “I certainly think we'll be engaging with him as well.”

The Senate Armed Services Committee, led by Sen. Carl LevinCarl Milton LevinSen. Gillibrand, eyeing 2020 bid, rankles some Democrats The Hill's 12:30 Report Congress needs bipartisanship to fully investigate Russian influence MORE (D-Mich.), will host the first Benghazi hearing of the Kerry era, tentatively scheduled for Thursday. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will testify, an aide told The Hill, a condition Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamDems aim to turn ObamaCare hikes into election weapon Steyer brings his push to impeach Trump to town halls across the nation Trump formally sends Pompeo nomination to Senate MORE (R-S.C.) had demanded in exchange for not blocking the nomination of former Sen. Chuck HagelCharles (Chuck) Timothy HagelIntel chief: Federal debt poses 'dire threat' to national security Hagel: Trump is 'an embarrassment' Tax cut complete, hawks push for military increase MORE (R-Neb.) to replace Panetta.

Levin and his former Republican counterpart, Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainZuckerberg: Maybe tech should face some regulations Schiff mocks Trump: Obama, Bush didn't need staff warning 'do not congratulate' Putin GOP senator tears into Trump for congratulating Putin MORE (R-Ariz.), want the hearing to focus on the Pentagon's role in the attack, notably the lack of military response.

“We've got planes, ships, all kinds of things all over the Mediterranean,” said McCain. “And obviously a seven-hour period went by without any capability of getting any of those assets to the scene of the attack.”

Sen. James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeHouse members urge Senate to confirm Trump's NASA nominee Senators to Trump: Keep pressure on North Korea while exploring talks Why did this administration back the Palestine Liberation Organization in terrorism case? MORE (R-Okla.), who has taken over from McCain as ranking member on the committee, has other plans however. He told The Hill he wants the U.S. ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, and former CIA Director David Petraeus to testify about the intelligence talking points that initially linked the attack on a protest gone awry.

“I can't speak for Carl [Levin] or for any of the rest of them, but my concern will be to bring out the fact that in my opinion this is the greatest single cover-up in the history of America,” he said. “I'm talking about the Pentagon Papers, Iran-Contra.”

The House oversight panel is also preparing for additional hearings on the security situation, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) told The Hill recently.

Issa , the panel’s chairman, and six Republican colleagues on the committee – Reps. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.), Scott DeJarlais (R-Tenn.), Paul GosarPaul Anthony Gosar13 House Republicans call on Sessions to appoint second special counsel Week ahead: Lawmakers put spotlight on energy infrastructure House Oversight a gavel no one wants MORE (R-Ariz.), Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), John Mica (R-Fla.) and Blake FarentholdRandolph (Blake) Blake FarentholdFive things to watch for in Texas primaries Congressional interns required to sign nondisclosure agreements House ethics panel opens probe into Meehan harassment allegations MORE (R-Texas) – recently visited embassies across North Africa and the Middle East to survey their security needs and protocols.

And the new chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), vowed to make Benghazi a priority when he was named chairman.

Kerry himself has vowed to implement the recommendations of a bipartisan review board that issued a report on Benghazi in December.

“There are certain things I intend to issue instructions on the minute I come in,” Kerry told The Boston Globe in an interview Thursday. “I won’t go into the details, but Benghazi, embassy security, issues regarding some of the analysis that I want to track with respect to Iran, with respect to Syria. Trouble spots.”

Issa, Royce and Rep. Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzAmericans want to protect public lands, Congress should listen Chaffetz: Florida school shooting survivors 'need a belief in God and Jesus Christ' Chaffetz: 'Mind-boggling' that Trump would call out his own AG MORE (R-Utah), the chairman of the oversight subpanel on national security, also partnered on a letter this week asking the State Department to clarify the role played by Clinton and her two deputies in providing for security in Libya.

It also asks the department to explain why a security team was pulled out of the country shortly before the attack and why the mission in Benghazi remained open despite the increasingly volatile situation.

Finally, Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) and Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulHouse poised to vote on .3T spending bill Overnight Finance: Lawmakers race to finalize omnibus | What we know about funding bill | White House on board | Fed raises rates for first time under Powell Senate passes controversial online sex trafficking bill MORE (R-Ky.), who said last week Clinton should have been fired over Benghazi, are collecting signatures on a letter demanding that Congress open an investigation into the attack. The letter faults the State Department for the talking points and for blaming a lack of congressional funding for the lack of security in Benghazi.

“This is not a money problem,” the letter states. “It is a leadership and management problem entrenched within the State Department.”