Libya e-mails: Senate to hold Benghazi attack hearings in November


An armed man waves his rifle after buildings and cars were set on fire inside the US Consulate compound in Benghazi late on Sept. 11.



The Senate intelligence committee will hold closed hearings in November to investigate the Sept. 11 attacks on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Reuters reported the Senate committee will wait until after the presidential election is over to hold the Nov. 15 hearing, which will focus on the handling of US intelligence and security information leading up to, and following, the deadly attacks.

US Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the terrorist attack. There has been repeated back-and-forth about how Obama adminstration officials characterized the attack —alternately as a “spontaneous” response to an anti-Islam film and a terrorist act — between the White House, State Department, and prominent Republicans.

The timing of the event and the details of what exactly happened have also become a hotly contested issue in the current presidential campaign. Both Republican candidate Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama have sparred on the issue during their moderated debates and on the campaign trail.

Republicans have criticized the Obama administration's handling of the event, while Democrats have criticized the GOP for politicizing the tragedy in order to win the election.

Politico said the news comes after reports the State Department and the administration received e-mails "two hours after the attack indicating that an Islamic militant group was claiming responsibility."

On Wednesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton downplayed the significance of that detail, and cautioned against reading too much into the news of supposedly incriminating social media posts and e-mail traffic at the time of the attack.

"Posting something on Facebook is not in and of itself evidence, and I think it just underscores how fluid the reporting was at the time and continued for some time to be," Clinton said, according to Foreign Policy.

More from GlobalPost: E-mails: White House was told about Libya militant link within hours