Clinton aide testifies at Benghazi panel

  • 17/10/2015
Huma Abedin, aide to US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, arrives to meet with the House Select Committee on Benghazi (Reuters)
Huma Abedin, aide to US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, arrives to meet with the House Select Committee on Benghazi (Reuters)

By Michael Mathes

Hillary Clinton's long-time confidante has testified before US politicians investigating the deadly 2012 attacks in Libya.

Democrats have slammed the Republican-led actions as efforts to "derail" the ex-secretary of state's White House bid.

Huma Abedin, trusted adviser to Clinton during her State Department years and now a vice chairwoman of her presidential campaign, spent seven hours in a closed-door session of the House Committee on Benghazi.

Members said their questions were related to the attacks of September 11, 2012 that killed four Americans, including ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens.

The panel's chairman, Trey Gowdy, did not attend.

Abedin has been publicly quiet on the investigation, but she broke her silence by briefly speaking to reporters after testifying.

"I wanted to honour the service of those lost and injured in the Benghazi attacks," Abedin said on Friday (local time).

"I appreciated the time of the members and committee staff today and I answered all their questions to the best of my ability."

The special investigation faces fresh scrutiny 17 months after it was empanelled, with Democrats charging it is more interested in ruining Clinton's campaign than reaching conclusions about how the executive branch handled the attack and its aftermath.

Top Democrat Elijah Cummings questioned why Republicans demanded Abedin testify when "she had no policy responsibilities, no operational responsibilities, [and] was not with secretary Clinton on the night of this phenomenal tragedy".

Republicans have also expressed concern with the panel.

Number two House Republican Kevin McCarthy inadvertently suggested last month that hurting Clinton's presidential campaign was an unstated committee goal.

This week another congressional Republican, Richard Hanna, admitted the probe was designed in part to "go after" Clinton, who testifies before the committee next Thursday.

NZN