The Lookout

State Department responds to claims that Clinton faked illness

The Lookout

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Hillary Clinton delivers remarks at the State Department in Washington on the deaths of U.S. embassy staff in Benghazi on September 12, 2012 (GARY CAMERON/REUTERS)

Hillary Clinton delivers remarks at the State Department in Washington on the deaths of U.S. embassy staff in Benghazi …

The State Department has rebutted another claim that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton faked her concussion while suffering from a stomach virus to avoid testifying Tuesday about the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, earlier this year.

The latest assertion came from former U.S. diplomat John Bolton, who, during the Dec. 17 edition of Fox News' "On the Record," insinuated that Clinton's "diplomatic illness"—in diplomatic circles, this is the feigning of an  illness to avoid an engagement—kept her from testifying.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Bolton's suggestion was "completely untrue."

Nuland continued: "We put out such a full statement Saturday of exactly what was going on because people speculate wildly. I can assure you, [Bolton is] not privy to any inside information. ... It's really unfortunate that in times like this people make wild speculation based on no information."

[Related: Hillary Clinton downplays possible run for president in 2016]

Bolton's claims came on the heels of an article in The Daily Caller by Jim Treacher, who wrote, "If she has a concussion, let’s see the medical report. Let’s see some proof that she’s not just stonewalling. If it’s true, then we can all wish her a speedy recovery. But it’s ridiculous to expect us to take her word for it."

Conservative blogger Lucianne Goldberg earlier had tweeted a message comparing Clinton to a kid playing hooky. "Hillary has given us a great new excuse. Don't call in with a cold or a bad tooth. Just say you have a concussion. It can last for days."

[Related: Libya Congress declares south closed military zone]

And an opinion piece from the New York Post calls Clinton's illness "one of the most transparent dodges in the history of diplomacy."

On Tuesday, an independent U.S. panel faulted the State Department for systemic failures and "criticized senior U.S. State Department management for failing to react to security concerns raised by U.S. diplomats in Libya." Following the report, Clinton began sending more security forces to diplomatic missions around the world.

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