Ross-Lehtinen: We Need Clinton's Testimony on Benghazi
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton fainted and suffered a concussion early last week, the department said Saturday. She is now recovering at home.
“While suffering from a stomach virus, Secretary Clinton became dehydrated and fainted, sustaining a concussion,” deputy assistant secretary Philippe Reines said in a statement.
“She has been recovering at home and will continue to be monitored regularly by her doctors. At their recommendation, she will continue to work from home next week, staying in regular contact with department and other officials. She is looking forward to being back in the office soon.”
Clinton, who has said she will not serve as secretary of State in President Obama’s second term, cancelled a trip to the Middle East last week after contracting a stomach virus during a trip to Europe, according to statements released by a close adviser and her doctors.
As a result of her illness, Clinton will not testify on Thursday, as originally intended, before Congressional committees investigating the September 11 attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, which resulted in the murder of four Americans, including U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens.
Deputy secretaries of state William J. Burns and Thomas R. Nides will testify to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee in Clinton’s place, according to reports.
Nides and Burns will also testify in Clinton's place that day before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The panel's chairman, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), said, however, that Clinton's testimony will be required in the future.
“I am sorry to learn of Secretary Clinton’s ill health and I wish her a quick and full recovery," Ros-Lehtinen said in a statement. “Although I respect Bill and Tom, 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."
“The American people and the families of the four murdered public servants and other brave Americans injured deserve no less,” she added.
Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) is considered the leading candidate to replace Clinton as secretary of State after U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice withdrew her name from consideration last week.
An unidentified source told CNN that a formal announcement could come as early as next week.
Last week, State Department officials gave mixed reports regarding the severity of Clinton’s illness. On Wednesday, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland described Clinton as having a “very uncomfortable stomach virus.”
The next day, Nuland said Clinton was “under the weather” and that her illness had prevented her from making any calls to foreign leaders.
Clinton also fainted while giving a speech in 2005 in Buffalo, N.Y., after complaining of a stomach virus.