Benghazi attack investigation complete

Benghazi attack investigation complete

December 19th, 2012 by Associated Press in Local - Breaking News

In this file photo, then U.S. envoy Chris Stevens attends meetings at the Tibesty Hotel where an African Union delegation was meeting with opposition leaders in Benghazi, Libya.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

An independent investigation into the deadly Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, is complete, and Congress will be briefed on its findings this week, the State Department said Monday.

The classified report by the Accountability Review Board will be sent to Capitol Hill today, a day before the panel's two most senior members will testify in closed session before the House and Senate foreign affairs committees. The board was established to examine the attack that killed U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

An unclassified version of the report is expected to be released to the public after board chairman Thomas Pickering, a former ambassador, and Adm. Mike Mullen, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, appear at Wednesday's hearings, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.

The House Foreign Affairs and Senate Foreign Relations committees will then hear open testimony on the report on Thursday from William Burns and Thomas Nides, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's two main deputies, Nuland said.

Clinton created the board in the aftermath of the Benghazi attack to look into security procedures before and during the incident in which heavily armed militants laid siege to the mission and a nearby CIA annex. She had been scheduled to appear before the committees this week but canceled after fainting and suffering a concussion while recovering from a stomach virus that left her severely dehydrated.

In a letter sent Monday to the two committees, Clinton said it was her hope to release as much of the report to the public as possible though there were limits because of classified information.

She said she looked forward to "engaging the committees in January," though it was unclear whether that would mean public testimony or simply conversations to answer questions.