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US Ambassador Revisits Benghazi Controversy

U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice.
U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice.
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Michael Bowman
— America’s U.N. ambassador has defended comments she made in the days following the September terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya,

Five days after the Benghazi attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, Susan Rice appeared on multiple domestic television programs. Rice said initial intelligence assessments pointed to a spontaneous demonstration that attracted heavily-armed militants.



 
Sept. 11  Protesters attack U.S. embassy in Cairo, Egypt and U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.  U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three other Americas are killed.

Sept. 12  Anti-U.S. protests spread to several Arab countries.

Sept. 13  Protesters storm U.S. embassy compound in Sana'a, Yemen.

Sept. 14  Protests spread further across Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

Sept. 15  U.S. orders non-essential personnel and families of diplomats out of Tunisia and Sudan.

Sept. 16  Protests continue in several countries.

Sept. 17  A protester dies during a clash with police in Pakistan.

Sept. 18  Protests spread, forcing early closure of U.S. embassy in Bangkok, Thailand

Sept. 19  France plans embassy closures after a French magazine published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.
The Obama administration has since conceded that the assault was, in fact, a terrorist attack.

Speaking at the United Nations late Wednesday, Rice addressed lingering questions about her assertions in September.

“When discussing the attacks against our facilities in Benghazi, I relied solely and squarely on the information provided to me by the intelligence community. I made clear that the information was preliminary and that our investigations would give us the definitive answers," Rice said. "Everyone, particularly the intelligence community, has worked in good faith to provide the best assessment based on the information available.”

Last week, several Republican lawmakers, including Senator John McCain, blasted Rice’s initial Benghazi comments as proof of deception or incompetence. To this day, some Republicans and conservative commentators allege the administration downplayed the true nature of the Benghazi incident to protect President Obama from political fallout during his reelection bid.

Ambassador Rice responded directly to Senator McCain.

“I have great respect for Senator McCain and his service to our country," she said. "I always have, and I always will. I do think that some of the statements he’s made about me have been unfounded, but I look forward to having the opportunity at the appropriate time to discuss all of this with him.”

Rice is thought to be a possible candidate to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state during President Obama’s second term. If nominated, she would have to be confirmed by the Senate to assume the post.

  • Yemeni protestors break a door of the U.S. Embassy during a protest about a film ridiculing Islam's Prophet Mohammed, Sana'a, Yemen, September 13, 2012.
  • Yemenis protest in front of the U.S. Embassy during a protest about a film ridiculing Islam's Prophet Mohammed, Sana'a, September 13, 2012.
  • Egyptian protesters burn tires as they clash with riot police outside the U.S. embassy in Cairo, Egypt, September 13, 2012.
  • An Egyptian protester throws back a tear gas canister toward riot police outside the U.S. embassy in Cairo, September 13, 2012.
  • A policeman stands in front of a police car set on fire by protesters in front of the U.S. embassy in Cairo, Egypt, during clashes between protesters and police, September 13, 2012.
  • White House staff are pictured after they lowered the U.S. flag to half staff on the roof of the White House in Washington, September 12, 2012, following the death of U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens.
  • President Barack Obama delivers a statement with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, September 12, 2012
  • A burnt car is parked at the U.S. consulate, which was attacked and set on fire by gunmen, in Benghazi, Libya, September 12, 2012.
  • An exterior view of the U.S. consulate, which was attacked and set on fire by gunmen yesterday, in Benghazi September 12, 2012.
  • An interior view of the damage at the U.S. consulate, which was attacked and set on fire by gunmen yesterday, in Benghazi, Libya, September 12, 2012.
  • Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, was killed along with three of his staff on September 11, 2012 during a demonstration at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.  This photo was taken at his home in Tripoli, June 28, 2012.
  • A vehicle sits smoldering in flames after being set on fire inside the US consulate compound in Benghazi late on September 11, 2012.
  • An armed man waves his rifle as buildings and cars are engulfed in flames after being set on fire inside the U.S. consulate compound in Benghazi, Libya, late on September 11, 2012.
  • U.S. Consulate in Benghazi in flames during protest, September 11, 2012

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Comments
     
by: Doyle Strickland from: Tennessee
November 25, 2012 1:42 PM
Perhaps Rice did receive the erroneous information, and reported it as she was instructed, however, I cannot in good faith, believe she was unaware of the true determination for such a long period of time, and not coming forth with the truth immediately! I, personally cannot trust what she says. She appears to be, now, a mere puppet of the White House..........


by: ed mays. from: Brick NJ
November 22, 2012 10:10 PM
Anyone with common sense would know it was a terrorist attack from day one. If a consulate is attacked with small arms and grenades what is it? It`s an act of terror. Obama & Rice decided it would not look good to have a terrorist event on his watch just a few days before the election.


by: Tom Rogers from: Littleton
November 22, 2012 8:24 PM
I'm not sure how a confessed spokesmodel can redeem her credibility after peddling what could at best be described as mendacious stupidity.


by: james colandrea from: Pennsylvania
November 22, 2012 3:48 PM
No. Rice must go. She had a moral duty to tell the truth despite what her commanders told her. We have all heard this dangerous line of reasoning before: I was only following orders. If she could follow those orders it is clear she would follow any orders regardless of who or how many suffer.


by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
November 22, 2012 12:02 PM
No one is perfect; people in official positions can't just start making very bombastic statements before the facts, with resonable certainty, are known. Ms. Rice absolutely deserves the benefit of credibility in this instance, and so does President Obama. Just look at the many bad sit that occurred during the Bush administration, because people in official positions jumped to conclusions, before the facts were known. Give Ms. Rice a break!

In Response

by: JAG from: Denver, CO
November 23, 2012 5:30 AM
All for giving someone a break in most cases, particularly in today's world of bad information, but Ms. Rice holds a high position in the government and put out bad information in deliberate manner. She was rather forceful in her insistence that this was the result of the moronic video release in the US. American citizens need to start holding their public officials accountable, instead of giving everyone a free pass.

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