Congress riled about account of Libya attack

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Before heading into one of the meetings on Capitol Hill on Thursday, Mrs. Clinton announced the formation of an official State Department review panel, which will examine whether security was adequate at the time of the Benghazi attack.

She told reporters that she planned to brief lawmakers on the “security posture before and during” the Benghazi attack along with “steps we have taken since to do everything we can with host governments to protect our people and our embassies and consulates.”

Mr. Clinton also said she has “absolutely no information or reason to believe that there’s any basis” for reports that American Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens was operating under the fear that he was on an al Qaeda hit list before he was killed last week in Libya.

The panel will be headed by retired Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering, Mrs. Clinton said.

It remains to be seen how U.S. lawmakers will respond to Mrs. Clinton’s move to create an official panel to examine security questions that have emerged out of last week’s attack in Benghazi.

Last week, the chairman and the ranking Republican of the Senate Homeland Security & Government Affairs Committee sent a letter to the State Department inspector general asking for a thorough, independent investigation of security at diplomatic outposts around the world.

“The State Department Deputy IG agrees with me that an independent assessment is ultimately necessary,” Sen. Susan M. Collins of Maine, the ranking Republican, said Thursday in an email.

The office of the inspector general did not return calls seeking comment, but a State Department official said, without elaborating, that Mrs. Collins had misconstrued the inspector general’s communication to her.

However, on Thursday night, a spokesmanfor Mrs. Collinstold The Washington Times that the State Department’s inspector general investigation “would be separate” from that being directed by Mrs. Clinton.

Pakistan, Indonesia, Libya

In Los Angeles, a Superior Court judge refused to order the social-media company YouTube, which is owned by the Internet search engine Google, to remove a 14-minute trailer of the crudely made anti-Muslim film. The judge rejected a plea from an actress who had argued that she had been duped into appearing in the film.

The film has been blamed for sparking widespread anti-Western demonstrations that saw American flags desecrated and U.S. Embassy walls breached in several Middle Eastern cities over the past week.

Most of the demonstrations have died down during recent days. But not in Pakistan, where anti-American sentiment was already running high, and U.S. officials are now raising fresh concerns about ongoing and potentially volatile protests near the U.S. Embassy in the capital city of Islamabad.

The U.S. Embassy in Pakistan remained open Thursday, but officials said other diplomatic posts were closed in the nation, as well as in other parts of the world where demonstrations have surged.

Mrs. Clinton, who appeared at the State Department after bilateral talks with Indonesian Foreign Minister R.M. Marty Natalegawa, said U.S. facilities in Indonesia – home to the world’s largest population of Muslims – would be temporarily closed Friday, the Islamic holy day.

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About the Author
Guy Taylor

Guy Taylor

Guy Taylor is the National Security Team Leader at The Washington Times, overseeing the paper’s State Department, Pentagon and intelligence community coverage. He’s also a frequent guest on The McLaughlin Group and C-SPAN.

His series on political, economic and security developments in Mexico won a 2012 Virginia Press Association award.

Prior to rejoining The Times in 2011, his work was ...

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