D.C.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to testify Jan. 23 before House committee

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As the dust settles on the president inauguration, lawmakers are preparing for another major event on Capitol Hill Wednesday.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will address the biggest controversy of her tenure - the deadly terror attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.

There's a lot of chatter of a possible presidential run by Clinton in 2016. She says she just wants to take some time off. But before she leaves her post, she'll face some tough questions about the tragic security failure.

More than four months after Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed in Benghazi, Clinton will be asked what went wrong.

State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said, "Members of Congress will have a chance to hear what the secretary has to say, but also to ask her any remaining questions that they have on this matter."

Clinton's testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Senate Relations Committee was put on hold last month by illness. A concussion then blood clot kept the out-going Secretary of State away from Capitol Hill.

Phil Ewing, Politico's Defense Editor, said, "The big question mark for political people is how is this going to affect a potential presidential candidacy in 2016."

Ewing doesn't expect any fireworks Wednesday, but he does think Republicans know what's at stake and will come at her hard with questions.

"They'll try and get her to admit that mistakes were made, that the State Department had a lot of problems before the attack on September 11 in the consulate in Benghazi and that peoples jobs were lost at the State Department," Ewing added. 

"She needs to be asked about what she knew about the deteriorating circumstances in Benghazi, did she see the 16 Aug. cable, was she informed of the rise of al Qaeda militia," Sen. Lindsey Graham, (R) South Carolina, said.

That secret cable, from the State Department's regional security officer, warned the U.S. mission in Benghazi had limited security and man power and might not be able to defend itself in case of a coordinated attack.

Sen. John McCain, (R) Arizona, asked, "What did the President know and when did he know it? What was he doing during these attacks? What did the Secretary of State know before, during and after because the American people were clearly deceived?"

Lawmakers like McCain accuse the administration of security failures leading up to the attack and being misleading in its accounts.

Clinton has pledged to Congress a "full and accurate accounting" and a plan to prevent another attack from happening.

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