Former career diplomat to head State investigation into Libya attack

Thomas Pickering Thomas Pickering Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

Retired U.S. Ambassador Thomas Pickering will lead a State Department panel tasked with investigating the attacks in Libya in September that killed four Americans.

A former top career diplomat, Pickering served as ambassador to the United Nations, Russia, India, Israel, Nigeria, Jordan and El Salvador during his five decades at State. The department’s Accountability Review Board plans to convene soon and will give its recommendations to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton two months after its first meeting. The other board members are: Adm. Mike Mullen, Catherine Bertini, Richard Shinnick and Hugh Turner III. Each member brings decades of experience in government and public service.

The Sept. 11, 2012, attacks on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya, killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, Information Management Officer Sean Smith, and security personnel Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., wrote Clinton a letter earlier this week citing allegations that Washington officials denied repeated requests for additional security before the September attack from Americans stationed in Benghazi. His committee plans to hold a hearing Oct. 10 on the issue.

In response, Clinton asked Issa to withhold any final conclusions about what happened leading up to and during the embassy attack, according to a letter Foreign Policy obtained.

“Nobody will hold this department more accountable than we hold ourselves -- we served with Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods,” Clinton wrote, pledging to share the board’s findings with Congress.

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