Charges of neglect and coverup during and after the deadly attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi will be aired today when the House Government and Oversight Committee hears testimony about the September 2012 assault that killed U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
The hearing will focus on efforts by the Obama administration to characterize the military-style assault as a spontaneous demonstration rather than a planned and coordinated a terrorist attack. Witnesses will include Stevens' deputy at the time, who has told committee investigators that an Army Special Forces team was ready to attempt a rescue of the diplomats and others under fire in the compound but was ordered to stand down. A State Department official who claims then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tried to cut the department's counterterrorism unit out of the communications loop on the night of the attack will also testify, according to a Fox News report.
Clinton, who resigned as planned in January, has become the focal point of queries into what happened and why during and after the attacks, as well as questions as to why previous requests for additional security at the mission had gone unanswered.
"If Hillary Clinton is not responsible for the before, during and after mistakes... it's somebody close," committee chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) told CBS News Monday. "There certainly are plenty of people close to the former secretary who knew, and apparently were part of the problem."
Clinton subordinates who may have engaged in what Issa called "deliberately premeditated lying to the American people," could include Under Secretary for Management Patrick Kennedy or Beth Jones, acting assistant secretary for near eastern affairs at the State Department, the chairman said.
Gregory Hicks, deputy chief of the U.S. mission in Libya at the time of the attack, will testify that a Special Forces team was prepared to fly from Tripoli to Benghazi, but the mission was aborted by order of the U.S. Special Operations Command Africa. Hicks was deposed by investigators for the committee and excerpts of the interview have been released by the committee.
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Photo of Obama and Clinton at the arrival of the remains of the Benghazi victims