House panel to meet on consulate attack

Nov. 8, 2012 at 9:49 AM
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WASHINGTON, Nov. 8 (UPI) -- The U.S. House Intelligence Committee plans a closed hearing on the U.S. Consulate attack in Libya in which the ambassador and three others died, officials say.

People familiar with the hearing said CIA Director David Petraeus, National Intelligence Director James Clapper and National Counter-terrorism Center Director Matthew Olson were expected to testify at the Nov. 15 hearing, The Hill reported Wednesday.

Republicans have criticized the Obama administration for its handling of the Sept. 11 attack in Benghazi, Libya, in which U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other diplomatic staffers were killed.

Because Congress has been in recess, the administration briefed the committee's staff on events surrounding the attack, Rep. C.A. Ruppersberger, D-Md., the committee's ranking Democrat, said.

"The whole purpose of the hearing is to have members hear for themselves what went on and ask questions about how it occurred, why it occurred, what information came out, why we got certain initial information, and just to make sure we get to the bottom of this to make sure it won't occur again," Ruppersberger told The Hill in a telephone interview.

Lawmakers have questioned whether the administration should have exercised more caution ahead of the attack, based on intelligence reports and requests for more security from within the State Department. After initially saying the attack was not a terrorist plot, administration officials since confirmed it was.

At least six committees are investigating the issue, including the Senate Intelligence Committee, which has a closed hearing the same day as the House panel.

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