US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will not have to testify before a Senate hearing concerning the deadly attack on the US consulate in Benghazi after she fainted and sustained a concussion last week.
Clinton, 65, is currently recovering at home following last week’s incident, when extreme dehydration caused by a stomach virus resulted in her losing consciousness on Thursday. The concussion that she sustained while falling further aggravated her condition, which required regular medical attention.
Clinton had to cancel a number of trips last week, as well as visits to North Africa and several Gulf countries scheduled to start on Monday because of her health. She promised to return to work soon, but has thus far carried out her duties from home.
The fainting incident occurred a week before Clinton was scheduled to testify in House and Senate hearings on the results of the investigation into the September 11 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi.
Clinton was expected to be grilled in the Senate hearing on Thursday by her Republican rivals over foreign security issues and US intelligence concerning the attack which killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
Republicans have repeatedly attacked the Obama Administration for its handling of the investigation into the Benghazi incident, arguing that the incident could have been prevented.
The Obama Administration insisted that Islamic extremists hijacked a spontaneous protest against the US-made anti-Islam video ‘The Innocence of the Muslims.’
Republicans criticized the White House’s version of events, naming an inadequate reaction by the State Department to security threats to US diplomats in Libya as among the reasons the tragedy unfolded in the manner it did.
Now it has become clear that neither the Senate Foreign Relations Committee nor the House Foreign Affairs Committee will hear Hillary Clinton’s scheduled testimony on Libya next Thursday.
Senator John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations and the man most likely to succeed Clinton as Secretary of State, has announced through his communications director Jodi Seth that given Clinton’s condition, she “could not and should not appear” for the hearings.
Earlier, it was the Republican chairman who insisted that Clinton “has committed to testify before the committee before the end of the session [of Congress].”
It is expected that at both hearings, Clinton will be replaced with senior State Department officials William Burns and Thomas Nides.
The US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has announced earlier she would step down from the Obama administration early next year. America’s top diplomat has also denied rumors of a presidential bid for the 2016 elections.