The Washington Times - February 4, 2013, 11:07AM

Nearly five months after the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will testify to Congress on Thursday about the military’s response.

Mr. Panetta will be joined by Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and both will appear before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

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Mr. Panetta is leaving the administration once his replacement is confirmed, and President Obama has tapped former Sen. Chuck Hagel to fill the slot — though Mr. Hagel is facing stiff opposition from Republicans.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, has said he would block the Hagel nomination until the committee heard from Mr. Panetta on Benghazi.

Last month, outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton finally testified to both the House and Senate, defending her department’s decision-making in the run-up to the attack, which left Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans dead.