Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did not make it in to testify in front of a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Thursday morning, sending a couple of her deputies in to do so instead. The State officials assured the committee that the department is working to quickly implement the recommendations made by the Accountability Review Board’s report on the “systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies” that led to the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi:
Deputy Secretary of State William Burns told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Thursday that the State Department has “already begun to fix” the security lapses that allowed the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya to succeed.
Burns told the committee that a harsh report issued Tuesday by the Accountability Review Board appointed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to investigate the attack “takes a clear-eyed look at serious, systemic problems. Problems which are unacceptable. Problems for which – as Secretary Clinton has said — we take responsibility.”
Burns was testifying in place of Clinton who has been out of the public eye for several days due to illness and a concussion she suffered after fainting recently.
The State Department may very well be making the changes and security additions the report recommended, but that will not be enough to excuse Clinton from testifying, and the House Foreign Affairs Committee is saying that she will need to come in testify before the Obama administration’s leadership changes, meaning sometime in mid-January:
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will testify in January before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen told CNN on Wednesday. …
Ros-Lehtinen issued a statement saying, “We still don’t have information from the Obama Administration on what went so tragically wrong in Benghazi that resulted in the deaths of four patriotic Americans. We have been combing through classified and unclassified documents and have tough questions about State Department threat assessments and decision-making on Benghazi. This requires a public appearance by the Secretary of State herself. Other cabinet secretaries involved should also be held publicly accountable.”
A date has not yet been set for the mid-January testimony, Ros-Lehtinen said Wednesday, but said Clinton’s adviser Cheryl Mills told her the secretary would not be traveling and would be available.
And a good thing, too; as “harsh” as the ARB report may have been, it did not actually hold anyone directly accountable for the security failures and it did not answer any questions about the Obama administration’s subsequent handling of the situation. As Sen. Inhofe pointed out today, whoever it was who decided to change the Benghazi-related talking points from terrorism to a stupid YouTube video, is still a relative mystery. Via the WFB:
Well, if it is true that Obama, Clinton, and high-level officials knew immediately this was a likely terrorist attack performed by heavily armed militants, why did the State Department and White House’s narrative shift more towards the video after the fact?