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Clinton returns to work, plans to testify on Benghazi attack

January 07, 2013|By Morgan Little
  • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her return to the State Department.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her return to the State Department. (State Department / Associated…)

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton returned to work Monday, following a lengthy absence caused by a series of health-related concerns.

Clinton will be leaving her post shortly, with Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) expected to take her place. But before that happens, the State Department confirmed that she intends to testify on the consulate attack in Benghazi, Libya, as the sitting secretary.

"The expectation is that the sequence will work out such that she'll be able to testify,” State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said Monday, emphasizing that Clinton's testimony will be delivered "while she is still sitting secretary of State."

Clinton's testimony on the fatal attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi last year has been highly anticipated, given the intense scrutiny paid to the State Department's handling of the facility's security in the months leading up to the attack.

With Congress on a break, Nuland said the scheduling of Clinton's appearance would not be worked out with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee until after the presidential inauguration on Jan. 21.

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Nuland added that Clinton is prepared to testify in an open session upon the request of the committee.

Clinton, who had been fighting a flu virus, sustained a concussion in December, and later was found to have a blood clot behind her right ear.

Her compound medical issues left her unable to actively fulfill many of her responsibilities, though Nuland said "there was no moment" at which the secretary was deemed incapable of performing her duties to the degree to which a deputy secretary would need to temporarily take over.

Clinton was released from a New York hospital Wednesday.

Clinton received a warm welcome from her staff Monday in a meeting with assistant secretaries. On her return, she was given a football helmet adorned with the State Department logo and a jersey marked with "112," representing the number of countries visited during her tenure.

Though Clinton has been cleared to return to work, under doctors' orders, she will not be undertaking any travel. Nonetheless, Nuland said, "judging by the woman we saw this morning, and the workload she’s got, she seems to be fully recovered."

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