Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) sees something more sinister than a stomach virus in Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's illness-based absence from two Capitol Hill hearings on the attacks in Libya Thursday morning.

"I'm not a doctor, but it seems as though that the secretary of state has come down with a case of Benghazi flu," West told Fox News. “I think we have to get to the bottom of this, there's still very -- countless amount of unanswered questions." 

West added, "I don't think that this should become the new normal and next thing you know four years from now we have HIllary Clinton running for president when we had this death of the ambassador" and others. 

Clinton is missing the hearings because of an ongoing stomach virus and will testify in mid-January. Her top deputies, William Burns and Thomas Nides, are testifying.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) said Thursday that some in the State Department failed to “see the forest for the trees” as security conditions deteriorated in Benghazi.

After the release of an independent report finding management and leadership failures connected to the fatal Sept. 11 attacks in Benghazi, four State Department managers have been disciplined. The report did not fault Clinton directly.

West, a retired Army lieutenant colonel, lost his South Florida seat in November after serving one term.