Secretary of State Hillary Clinton came down with “diplomatic illness” to avoid testifying this week at congressional hearings looking into what happened at the American embassy in Benghazi, claims former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton.
“You know, every foreign service officer in every foreign ministry in the world knows the phrase I am about to use. When you don’t want to go to a meeting or conference, or an event, you have a ‘diplomatic illness,’ Bolton told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren Monday evening. “And this is a diplomatic illness to beat the band.
“I certainly hope it was nothing serious, but this was revealed in a way that I think was not transparent,” Bolton continued. “And I think there is an obligation here, especially if Secretary Clinton decides to run for president, to indicate what happened. She may not be testifying this week, but she will not escape it forever.”
Secretary Clinton reportedly had a concussion after fainting during a dizzy spell last week, brought on by a stomach flu. The illness caused her to cancel a Middle East tour last week, that included a ceremony marking official U.S. recognition of Syrian opposition forces.
It also meant she would not be able to testify a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing this Thursday, after months of putting off requests to do so by Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.). The hearings look to find out who knew what about the September 11 terrorist attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, which killed four Americans including Ambassador Chris Stevens.
Secretary Clinton finally agreed to testify at the open hearings after media focus questioned why she was stalling. She has now promised Chairwoman Ros-Lehtinen to “engage” the committee in January.
Bolton said the delay in testifying will allow Clinton to review the statements made by other in her department, and word her own testimony to fit theirs.
“There is nothing more embarrassing than to say something and then have it contradicted and have to change your story later,” Bolton said.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland dismissed Bolton’s claims as “completely untrue,” reports Fox News.
“I can assure you, he [Bolton]‘s not privy to any inside information,” she said.