Clinton to testify on Benghazi report on Dec. 20

WASHINGTON Wed Dec 12, 2012 6:58pm EST

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will testify on December 20 before the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee on a report on the deadly attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, the committee said on Wednesday.

The attack on September 11 killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, and raised questions about the adequacy of security in far-flung posts.

Republicans have criticized Democratic President Barack Obama's administration for its flawed early public explanations of the attack.

They have also criticized shifting explanations of why talking points given to U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice were changed to delete a reference to al Qaeda. Some Republicans have used that criticism to question Rice's suitability as a candidate to replace Clinton, if Obama were to nominate her.

Clinton has said she planned to retire from her post at State after Obama's first term.

An accountability review board convened by the State Department is expected to release a report on the Benghazi attack before Clinton testifies.

The board, led by veteran diplomat Thomas Pickering, is expected to consider whether enough attention was given to potential threats and how Washington responded to security requests from U.S. diplomats in Libya.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle)