William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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HILLARY'S HOUR – AT 8:35 A.M. ET:  Hillary Clinton testifies before Congress on the Benghazi raid today.  She'll probably also be asked about the more recent terror attack in Algeria.  Between them, seven Americans have died.  In Algeria, many more from other nations died as well.

Her testimony will come several days after President Obama declared that a decade of war is coming to an end, a breathtakingly ridiculous and irresponsible statement that has been soundly ridiculed by the few adults left in the media.  From Fox: 

More than four months after the deadly attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in eastern Libya, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will deliver long-awaited testimony on the historic security failure.

The secretary, after missing prior sessions before Congress due to illness, is set to take lawmakers' questions Wednesday before a House and Senate committee. As Clinton prepares to leave the department after a busy four years, the hearing is a chance to address what is arguably the biggest controversy of her tenure.

"There's no question there hasn't been the accountability within the department," Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., the incoming top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told Fox News. "I think this is going to be the beginning, I hope ... of a top-to-bottom review."

Congress has already held multiple hearings to date, with lower-level officials testifying, on the Benghazi attack. The administration has gradually backed off its position that the attack was spontaneous -- an assertion that drew the ire of congressional lawmakers who said it was clearly planned. An official State Department-sanctioned report has resulted in several officials leaving their current posts, after finding "systemic failures" left the Benghazi compound inadequately protected.

The hearing Wednesday, though, is a forum for lawmakers to question Clinton on what she might have known about requests for security at the Benghazi post -- and what she thinks should be done to improve security going forward, as she prepares to leave the department. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., has been nominated to replace her.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Tuesday "there was no question" that Clinton "considered it her responsibility to learn the lessons from this, and to take the department forward in implementing whatever lessons were learned."

COMMENT:  There is another question that has received attention from some commentators in the last 24 hours – Who are the diplomatic personnel who survived the Benghazi attack, and why have they not come forward with what they know?  It's an excellent question.  Those people were there, on the scene.  They know what happened, and yet they haven't been heard from.  Clearly, that is intentional on the part of the State Department, part of a cover-up that began with the absurd assertion that the Benghazi raid was provoked by a YouTube video.

We'll be watching the press coverage to see if it's serious and objective, or just another valentine for the administration, and, especially Secretary Clinton.  I'm not hopeful.

January 23, 2013