Hillary Clinton gets concussion after fainting

December 15, 2012

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton sustained a concussion after fainting from dehydration at her home early last week, her office disclosed Saturday.

Clinton, 65, has been suffering from a stomach virus and had to cancel a trip to Morocco and the Persian Gulf on Monday.

Philippe Reines, a State Department spokesman, said Clinton became dehydrated because of the virus and fainted, sustaining the concussion. He said she has been under the care of doctors.

“At their recommendation, she will continue to work from home next week, staying in regular contact with department and other officials,” Reines said in a statement. “She is looking forward to being back in the office soon.”

Because of her illness, she will not testify at congressional hearings on Thursday about the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, according to a statement from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

In her place, Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and Deputy Secretary of State for Management Thomas Nides are scheduled to appear before the House committee and likely its Senate counterpart, the Foreign Relations Committee.

The Obama administration faces lingering questions about the episode, in which U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed, including whether Stevens had sufficient security and what U.S. officials knew before they blamed the attack on a protest over an anti-Islam video. Later intelligence showed that there was no protest and that the heavily armed attackers were linked to extremist militias.

The Accountability Review Board appointed by the State Department is expected to complete its report on the Benghazi attacks this week. The board’s two leaders, Ambassador Thomas Pickering and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen are scheduled to provide a closed-door, classified briefing for the two congressional committees on Wednesday.

Clinton, who has traveled to more countries than any previous secretary of state, developed a virus after returning from a trip to Europe. Several members of her staff also were ill.

Clinton has said that she will leave the job after the Senate confirms a successor. One of the leading candidates, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, withdrew from consideration on Thursday, saying Republican opposition to her because of statements she made on television talk shows five days after the Benghazi attack would have distracted the president from other objectives.

Obama is expected to nominate Sen. John F. Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat and former presidential candidate, early this week.

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