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Hillary Clinton on the hot seat

Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.
January 23, 2013 1:11:46 PM PST
If anyone thought Hillary Clinton would wilt under the questioning from Senators and Congressmen, man where they wrong. Right?

The Secretary of State was on the offensive and brushing aside criticisms - some of them politically spawned by the right, others absolutely legit - about how the U.S. handled security, or the lack of security, at the consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

"What difference at this point does it make?" she asked, about the controversy over what the U.S. did or didn't know about the terrorist attack last Sept. 11. There's no question the public response by the State Dept. and White House fell short of full disclosure; but, Mrs. Clinton was quick to point out, the hard truth was that they didn't know all the facts right away.

Four Americans were killed, including the ambassador to Libya. The bottom line to today's hearings on Capitol Hill: Hard to imagine that the right is going to get what they wanted from Clinton - the raw meat of any kind of cover-up.

We'll have highlights of her testimony, tonight at 11.

Also at 11, an arrest today in a crime that has baffled cops for more than 8 years and changed the way cars are protected from projectiles from highway overpasses. It happened on the Sprain Brook Parkway in April, 2004 - a woman killed instantly when someone threw a 10-pound piece of concrete from an overpass. Now cops have arrested a man. So who is he? And why has it been solved now, after all these years.

We're also following two wrongful conviction cases tonight. One involves a man convicted of a murder in Brooklyn. He's now out of prison, after 23 years behind bars; the federal judge who released him today said the state should apologize.

The other involves three men convicted of killing a FedEx worker in the Bronx in 1995. Their convictions tonight have been vacated.

Can you imagine?

Two important items in Washington you might have missed that we'll tackle tonight at 11: The first is the House vote approving a three-month extension of the debt ceiling, but it comes with a caveat. If Congress doesn't pass a budget, members will have their paychecks held in escrow.

The other is a big announcement from the Pentagon: Women will now be allowed into combat. There had been an exclusion rule for women in the military. No more.

We'll also have the latest on the bitter cold. Meteorologist Lee Goldberg is tracking the system that has plunged temps throughout the tri-state, and he's watching the storm that could bring us a touch of snow on Friday.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Rob Powers with the night's sports. I hope you can join Diana Williams (in for Sade) and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER

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