US & Canada

Hillary Clinton 'to give Congress Benghazi evidence'

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
The state department has not confirmed Hillary Clinton's appearance before Congress

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will give evidence to Congress on an attack on a US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, a leading congresswoman says.

Committee chair Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said Mrs Clinton would testify after an internal review of events was finished.

The news comes as lawmakers use closed sessions to probe CIA handling of the attack, in which four Americans died.

The sudden resignation of CIA director David Petraeus last week has reignited Republican anger over the incident.

Senator John McCain led calls for a further probe, holding a news conference on Wednesday and speaking out on the Senate floor.

Film of attack

Ms Ros-Lehtinen, who heads the House of Representatives committee on foreign affairs, said Mrs Clinton would give her evidence once the state department had completed its internal review.

"The secretary has committed to testifying before our committee... on the Accountability Review Board's report, which is expected to be concluded by early to mid-December," she said.

There was no immediate confirmation from Mrs Clinton, who is currently visiting Australia.

Meanwhile, on Thursday other state department and intelligence officials testified behind closed doors about the attack, which took place on the anniversary of the 11 September 2001 terror attacks in the US.

They included Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and acting CIA Director Michael Morell.

On Thursday, lawmakers were shown a real-time film of the attack on the US diplomatic mission.

Senator Dianne Feinstein described the video as "a composite from a number of sources", including a Predator drone.

"It is real-time. It does begin from when the incident, before the incident started, and it goes through the incident and the exodus," she said.

Gen Petraeus, who headed the CIA at the time of the Libya attack, is due to give closed-door testimony before Congress on Friday about what happened in Benghazi.

The retired four-star general resigned a week ago over an extramarital affair.

Representative Dutch Ruppersberger, the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told reporters he planned to ask the former CIA chief if his resignation had "anything to do with the fact that you were supposed to testify before Congress?"

Rep Ruppersberger said he had been told that was not the case, but wanted to clarify the matter with Gen Petraeus himself.

Reports from CNN on Thursday cited him as saying he had never given classified information to his mistress, Paula Broadwell. Gen Petraeus also said that his resignation was not related to his planned testimony on Libya.

Republicans have accused the White House of misleading the public over what happened in Benghazi on the night of the attack, which killed the US ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three others.

In particular, lawmakers say it took the administration several days to characterise the event as a terrorist attack, with some suggestions of an attempted cover-up.

Attacks have targeted UN Ambassador Susan Rice, who made TV appearances days after the attacks saying they sprang from spontaneous protests over an anti-Islamic film.

But on Thursday, acting CIA director Michael Morell told members of the House Intelligence Committee that Ms Rice had been given an unclassified version of what happened on the night of the attack.

In his first press conference since re-election, President Barack Obama vigorously defended Ms Rice on Wednesday, saying Republicans should direct their criticism towards him instead.