July 25, 2015 / 3:45 PM / 4 years ago

Clinton, congressional Benghazi panel at odds over appearance date

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign said on Saturday the former secretary of state will testify on Oct. 22 before a House committee investigating the 2012 Benghazi, Libya, attacks, but a spokesman for the panel said no date had been set.

Republican Representative Trey Gowdy, chairman of the Benghazi investigation committee, had sought to hear from Clinton on the attacks, in which four Americans were killed, and her use of a private email account while she was America’s top diplomat.

A spokesman for Clinton, the front-runner in polls for the Democratic nomination in next year’s presidential election, said she had accepted an offer from the committee to testify on Oct. 22.

“Earlier this week we were pleased for Secretary Clinton to receive an offer from Congressman Gowdy to appear before the committee in a public hearing in October, and yesterday accepted his invitation,” campaign spokesman Nick Merrill said in an emailed statement. He said the date was Oct. 22.

A few hours after the Clinton campaign announced her planned appearance, Jamal Ware, spokesman for the Benghazi committee, said the date was not firm.

“Secretary Clinton’s campaign may want to reach out to her lawyer, Mr. David Kendall, with whom the Committee has had ongoing conversations,” Ware said in a statement. “As of last night, Mr. Kendall was still negotiating conditions for her appearance.”

Ware said the conditions proposed by Kendall were that the date of her testimony not change once it was set and that questioning of Clinton stay within parameters set by the resolution that established the committee.

However, a Democratic spokesman for the Benghazi committee said Gowdy’s staff had proposed dates in October and that Clinton’s attorney had accepted Oct. 22.

Clinton was secretary of state at the time of the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks by Islamic militants on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, which resulted in the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

Congressional Republicans have scrutinized Clinton’s handling of the incident and criticized the lack of security at the U.S. compound.

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during an event at the New York University Leonard N. Stern School of Business in New York July 24, 2015. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Clinton has also been engulfed in a controversy over her use of a private email server instead of a government account while she was secretary of state.

At least four emails out of some 30,000 from that private account contained classified information, according to a government inspector’s letter to Congress this week.

Writing by Bill Trott; Editing by Ros Russell and Eric Beech

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