Hillary Clinton is set to testify in front of a Congressional committee about the attack on a US consulate in Libya in 2012 that killed the Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.
The Democratic presidential hopeful was secretary of state at the time and is likely to face tough questions.
This is Hillary Clinton’s second appearance before Republican-dominated Congress on her handling of the incident.
Hillary Clinton’s Democratic Party says it is a witch-hunt designed to harm her presidential bid.
There have already been seven congressional investigations into the attack, by suspected Islamist militants, on the US compound in the Libyan city of Benghazi on September 11, 2012.
Hillary Clinton is likely to be asked to explain: why the US government initially claimed the attack was spontaneous, sparked by a YouTube video that had led to protests in the region, when evidence later emerged that the raid was likely to have been planned; why calls by Ambassador Chris Stevens for security reinforcements at the consulate were apparently ignored; whether she compromised classified information by using her private email server instead of using a government email account for all her correspondence while secretary of state.
Observers say this is a key moment for Hillary Clinton, who solidified her position as the Democrats’ frontrunner for presidential candidate after her potential rival, VP Joe Biden, ruled himself out of the race on October 21.
Hillary Clinton’s appearance before the House of Representatives Select Committee on Benghazi could further strengthen her position or raise doubts about her suitability as a presidential nominee.
The Republicans on the committee are also under pressure to prove they have good reason to bring Hillary Clinton before them, and are not just using it as an excuse to undermine her presidential candidacy.
Comments made by Republican Representative Kevin McCarthy earlier this month, as part of his bid to become Speaker of the House, suggesting the committee was doing just that, have not helped their position.
Hillary Clinton said, in a TV interview earlier this month, that she was “looking forward to answering questions about the real things when I’m there” and voiced her disgust at “a political partisan committee for the sole purpose of going after me”.
Ahmed Abu Khattala, the suspected ringleader of the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, has appeared amid tight security at a US federal courthouse in Washington DC.
Ahmed Abu Khattala was captured by US forces in Benghazi on June 18.
He denied a raft of terrorism-related charges. He says he was in Benghazi during the attack on the US consulate but that he did not take part.
Ahmed Abu Khattala was captured by US forces in Benghazi (photo AP)
The US ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and three other people were killed in the September 2012 attack.
Ahemed Abu Khattala was charged with providing material support and resources to terrorists including himself; killing a person on a federal facility; and damaging property of the US by fire and explosives resulting in death.
The next hearing was set for July 8.
American media reported that Ahmed Abu Khattala was brought to court in Washington from a US Navy warship where he had been held since being captured two weeks ago.
The US has described Ahmed Abu Khattala as “key figure” in the attack on the consulate.
President Barack Obama praised the raid which led to his capture earlier this month.
Ahmed Abu Khattala, the suspected ringleader of the September 2012 raid on a US diplomatic post in the Libyan city of Benghazi, that left four Americans dead, has been captured, the Pentagon says.
Ahmed Abu Khattala was taken into custody in a secret US military raid in Libya on June 15.
He is now being held in a secure location outside the country, a Pentagon spokesman confirmed.
US Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others were killed in the attack.
“There were no civilian casualties related to this operation, and all US personnel involved in the operation have safely departed Libya,” Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm John Kirby wrote in a statement.
Benghazi attack lead suspect Ahmed Abu Khattala was taken into custody in a secret US military raid in Libya on June 15
After the announcement, President Barack Obama praised the courage and professionalism of the military, law enforcement and intelligence personnel who tracked and captured Ahmed Abu Khattala, who the US describes as a “key figure” in the attack.
“With this operation, the US has once again demonstrated that we will do whatever it takes to see that justice is done when people harm Americans,” he said in a White House statement.
Ahmed Abu Khattala would face the “full weight of the American justice system”, he said, an indication the US will try him in a civilian court rather than hold him at the military detention centre at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
In August, the New York Times reported that federal prosecutors had prepared secret charges against him, accusing him of murder for his role in the attack.
On September 11, 2012, gunmen stormed the US consulate in Benghazi and set it on fire.
In addition to Chris Stevens, information technology specialist Sean Smith and security workers and ex-Navy Seals Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were killed.
The White House initially said the attack stemmed from anti-American protests over a crude video produced in the US that was deemed insulting to Islam.
Government investigators soon determined it was an organised attack planned by local militias, although the New York Times claimed after an extensive investigation that some of the attackers were indeed motivated by the film.
The US quietly offered as much as $10 million for information in the months following the attack.
In subsequent years, the incident has become a political lightening rod, with Republicans accusing President Barack Obama’s administration of covering up the involvement of militant groups in the days after the attack in order to assist Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.
Congressmen watched harrowing footage of the US ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, being dragged out of the consulate during the terror attack which killed him.
Members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees were shown a video of Chris Stevens being taken out of the building in Benghazi while it was attacked by radical Islamists on September 11.
The lawmakers watched the video during a hearing in which the acting director of the CIA told them that the administration’s mistaken statements on the causes of the raid were down to incorrect intelligence information.
The footage was shown as part of an attempt by the CIA to provide the fullest account yet of the deadly assault, which left Stevens and three other Americans dead.
It captured some of the last moments of Chris Stevens’ life, showing the attack on the consulate building as well as Stevens being removed from the building as he suffered from the injuries which would eventually kill him.
Mike Morell, the acting CIA director who took over for disgraced boss David Petraeus, told the committees that UN ambassador Susan Rice had been provided with an unclassified version of what happened during the deadly September attack in Libya that was incorrect
Senator Dan Coats told CNN the video was “combination of video from a surveillance camera and a drone”.
He added: “It gave us a good picture, from the surveillance standpoint, what was happening.”
Mike Morell, the acting CIA director who took over for disgraced boss David Petraeus, told the committees that UN ambassador Susan Rice had been provided with an unclassified version of what happened during the deadly September attack in Libya that was incorrect.
Emerging from the session, Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff said Michael Morell told the panel that Susan Rice was given an initial assessment that a spontaneous protest over an anti-Muslim video evolved into an attack on the consulate.
Susan Rice’s comments on national talk shows five days after the attack has drawn fierce criticism, with some Senate Republicans vowing to block her nomination if she is tapped to replace Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Adam Schiff said the ambassador’s interview remarks were based on the “best initial assessment”.
Anderson Cooper admitted on Friday that CNN had come across the late Ambassador Christopher Stevens’ personal journal and used parts of it in its reporting without disclosing the source.
On Wednesday on his show Anderson Cooper 360, the CNN host told Senator John McCain that “a source familiar with Ambassador Stevens’ thinking told us that in the months before his death he talked about being worried about the never-ending security threats that he was facing in Benghazi, and specifically about the rise in Islamist extremism and growing al Qaeda presence”.
Anderson Cooper added that “the source also mentioned [Stevens] being on an al Qaeda hit list”.
Two days later, Anderson Cooper acknowledged that CNN had obtained Christopher Stevens’ journal, and that some of the information regarding the late ambassador’s thought process in the months leading to the deadly September 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was drawn from his entries.
Anderson Cooper admitted that CNN had come across the late Ambassador Christopher Stevens' personal journal and used parts of it in its reporting without disclosing the source
“On Wednesday of this week, we reported that a source familiar with Ambassador Stevens’ thinking said in the months before his death, Ambassador Stevens talked about being worried about what he called the never-ending security threats in Benghazi,” Anderson Cooper told his viewers Friday night.
“We also reported that the ambassador specifically mentioned the rise in Islamic extremism, the growing al Qaeda presence in Libya and said he was on an al Qaeda hit list.
“The information for that report, like all of CNN’s reporting, was carefully vetted. Some of that information was found in a personal journal of Ambassador Stevens in his handwriting.
“We came upon the journal through our reporting and notified the family. At their request, we returned that journal to them. We reported what we found newsworthy in the ambassador’s writings. A reporter followed up on what we found newsworthy, as I said, in the ambassador’s writings,” Anderson Cooper concluded.
Shortly after 1: 00 a.m. on Saturday, CNN published a story without a by-line on its website explaining how the journal came into its possession, and how the information it contains was used in the network’s reporting.
According to the article, CNN found Christopher Stevens’ journal four days after the ambassador was killed by Libyans protesting an anti-Muslim film produced by an American filmmaker.
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