The Corner

Rice Keeps Digging

Susan Rice issued a statement after her meeting with Senators McCain, Graham, and Ayotte, the substance of which is as follows:

In the course of the meeting, we explained that the talking points provided by the intelligence community, and the initial assessment upon which they were based, were incorrect in a key aspect: there was no protest or demonstration in Benghazi. While, we certainly wish that we had had perfect information just days after the terrorist attack, as is often the case, the intelligence assessment has evolved. We stressed that neither I nor anyone else in the Administration intended to mislead the American people at any stage in this process, and the Administration updated Congress and the American people as our assessments evolved.

The statement is a monument to obfuscation, falsehood, and incoherence.

  • CBS News reports Rice was privy to both the talking points and the original assessment. The original assessment referred to the attack as an act of terror linked to al-Qaeda, yet Rice made no mention of terrorism or al-Qaeda when she appeared on five national talk shows.

     

  • Rice conveniently fails to address where her claim that the attack was prompted by a video came from.

     

  • Rice wishes she had “perfect information just days after the attack.” What the administration did have at the time she went on the talk-show circuit was information that (a) the attack was a terrorist act, (b) it had links to al-Qaeda, (c) it was not spontaneous, (d) it was not an outgrowth of a mob protest, and (e) it was not caused by a video. On September 16, Rice failed to mention a or b, and misled the American people on c, d, and e.

     

  • During the second presidential debate, President Obama claimed to have referred to the attack as terrorism the very next day. If he’s to be believed, he had sufficient information to know the attack wasn’t the product of a protest or demonstration. Yet Rice suggests that four days later, she was still in the dark.

     

  • Rice asserts the intelligence assessment “evolved.” But General Petraeus testified on November 16 that the intelligence community knew immediately that Benghazi was a terrorist attack. The only evolution, therefore, was from the fact that the attack was al-Qaeda-related terrorism to Rice’s fiction that it was a spontaneous protest caused by a video.

     

  • She stresses that neither she nor anyone else in the administration intended to mislead the American people. Yet the president proclaimed to the world that the attack was a mob reaction to a video, Rice did the same despite being privy to the original intelligence assessment, Hillary Clinton conveyed the same to Ty Woods’s father, and Joe Biden claimed no one at the consulate asked for enhanced security before the attack. 

     

  • The only salient ”updates” the administration provided conveniently occurred after the election, and those updates were the same as the original intelligence assessments. They were, however, fundamentally different from the false narrative promoted by the administration for weeks.

The statement is an insult. It is par for the course.

Admittedly, all of the above is a product of my deep-seated and virulent racism.

Peter Kirsanow — Peter N. Kirsanow is an attorney and a member of the United States Commission on Civil Rights.

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