Susan Rice met with Senator John McCain (R-AZ) to discuss the consulate attack in Benghazi, Libya. According to USA Today, this meeting was triggered after the White House signaled it may nominate Susan Rice to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. John McCain previously said he may oppose her nomination because she should have known her statements blaming the YouTube video for the September 11 attack were false.
After the Benghazi terrorist attack, Susan Rice represented the United States by claiming the attack may have emerged from a protest outside the consulate in response to an anti-Islam YouTube video. There was no protest or demonstration in Benghazi, the attack was a well-organized terror plot, and ex-CIA Director David Petraeus claims the CIA knew this from the outset.
Republicans believe Benghazi is a scandal because President Obama was allegedly watching the Benghazi attacks live via drone feed, emails, and phones from the White House situation room. Government and military officials allegedly received requests for help from the CIA operatives that were turned down. The Obama administration defends itself by saying that the situation was fluid. The overwhelming stream of incoming reports included conflicting information, thus they were uncertain if action should be taken and chose to sit tight. This decision resulted in deaths, and then someone in either the Federal agencies or the Obama administration changed the CIA reports to downplay Al Qaeda, terrorism, and national security right before elections.
Petraeus said he doesn’t know who deleted the terrorist references from his presentation notes. He even drafted talking points on the Benghazi terrorist attacks for the White House and was surprised by Susan Rice’s announcement. But even though he’s uncertain who made the changes–and why–he’s also relatively certain it was done to avoid tipping off the terrorists.
Emerging from the meeting, John McCain says, “We are significantly troubled by many of the answers that we got and some that we didn’t get. It is clear the information that [Rice] gave the American people was incorrect when she said it was a spontaneous demonstration triggered by a hateful video. It was not, and there was compelling evidence at the time that that was certainly not the case.”
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is even more critical of Susan Rice.
“The bottom line is that I’m more disturbed than I was before … about how four Americans died in Benghazi, Libya,” Graham said. “The American people got bad information of 16 September, they got bad information from President Obama days after. The question is: Should they have been giving the information at all….It’s unjustified to give the scenario as presented by Ambassador Rice and President Obama three weeks before an election.”
Critics of the Republicans are saying they are merely jealous that Obama has avoided having as scandal pinned on him. Susan Rice now claims she was only relaying the intelligence information she was handed by the White House. Obama himself defends Susan Rice and says Republicans should attack him, not her. But some people are not buying that, claiming that Susan Rice should have known better.
“These officials are supposed to assess these things for themselves,” said Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former CIA operations officer and now an analyst at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. “If you see a situation where a consulate safe house is being attacked by mortars and organized teams, that should tell you this was planned before that video came out.”
Gerecht insists that Susan Rice knowingly wrote the report intending to build up President Obama’s credibility with national security while ignoring contradictory information. The Rice narrative included Al-Qaeda losing ground and that the Middle East’s public sentiment toward the United States was improving. The Benghazi attack was specifically stated to not be connected to any U.S. foreign policy decisions by the Obama White House.
“If you want to take the president’s approach, then Susan Rice is shockingly guilty of being dumb,” Gerecht said.
The Benghazi terrorist attacks will likely haunt Susan Rice’s career for years to come. Do you think she deserves to be the new Secretary of State after reading the responses to the John McCain meeting?