Clinton Continuing to Rest at Home, Says Aide
Outgoing U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who fell ill in early December and hasn't been seen in public since, continues to rest at home, her closest aide said Thursday, according to AFP.
"She's recuperating at home," Philippe Reines wrote in email to AFP when asked about Clinton's health.
Clinton, 65, has been off work sick since her return from her last trip on December 7, although her staff says she has been working from home.
Her lengthy absence from public life has sparked claims from some of her fiercer critics that she is trying to avoid testifying in a congressional investigation into a deadly attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya.
The State Department said Clinton had contracted a bad stomach virus during her five-day stay in Europe. She had to cancel a planned trip to North Africa and Abu Dhabi due to the illness.
A week later Clinton's doctors said she had become severely dehydrated due to the effects of the stomach bug and had fainted, suffering a concussion.
They recommended she rest at home and avoid, through mid-January, the high-intensity travel she had been accustomed to taking as secretary of state.
Clinton has flown almost a million miles since taking office four years ago, visited 112 countries and spent some 400 days in a plane.
Her health kept her from testifying on December 20 to U.S. lawmakers about the attack on the consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11.
The assault, in which the U.S. ambassador and three other officials were killed, sparked a political firestorm, and Republicans criticized Clinton's absence last week, calling on her to testify in January.
Clinton, who is due to step down from her post in early 2013, also stayed away from the White House last Friday when President Barack Obama nominated her replacement, veteran senator John Kerry.
She issued a long statement paying tribute to her successor, and the State Department has regularly assured the public that Clinton continues to work from home, but that has not prevented questions over her three weeks of absence.
State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland has categorically denied suggestions from some observers that Clinton may be faking her illness in a bid to avoid testifying on the Benghazi inquiry.
Such claims were "completely untrue," Nuland said. "We've been very clear from the beginning that she had a stomach virus, an ugly stomach virus. She got very dehydrated. She fainted. It was later discovered she had sustained a concussion."