Last week UN Ambassador Susan Rice was before members of the US Senate and faced questions over the terrorists attacks in Benghazi and the administrations official public response. As the headlines stated at the time, the meeting resulted in more questions than answers.
Particularly troubling was Rice’s own admission that the administration mislead the public. The official message was “incorrect in a key respect.” Furthermore, Rice admitted that the administration knew that neither a “protest nor demonstration in Benghazi” ever took place.
Rice apologized for misleading the public during a Meet the Press interview on September 16th, five days after the Benghazi attack. During the interview, Rice recited talking points prepared by the CIA, claiming that the Benghazi attack was sparked by a “hateful and offensive video that was widely disseminated throughout the Arab and Muslim world.” The talking points were aimed at deflecting the liability of President Obama’s failed leadership over the Benghazi events, in the wake of his re-election campaign.
It is not clear whether the Obama Administration had influence or oversight during the CIA’s preparation.
Though Rice claims the talking points were not intended to mislead the public, she continues to deflect questions regarding whether the Obama administration was aware that the Benghazi attack could have been related to Al Qaeda or other terrorist groups.
Rice’s lack of full disclosure left many in the Senate with more questions than answers, including Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C).
Senator McCain said that he was deeply “troubled” by many of the answers presented by Ambassador Rice, and “some that we didn’t get.” McCain continued, “It is clear that the information that she gave the American people was incorrect when she said that it was a spontaneous demonstration triggered by a hateful video.”
Senator Graham voiced his concern as well. “Bottom line, I’m more disturbed now than I was before [by] the 16 September explanation about how four Americans died in Benghazi, Libya, by Ambassador Rice,” said Graham.
At least 97 House Republicans have informed President Obama they would oppose his nomination of Susan Rice as the next Secretary of State.