Susan Rice, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, is reportedly being considered as a possible replacement for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is believed to be leaving soon to spend more time with Bill (i.e., to start her 2016 presidential campaign). Because of Rice’s central role in the Obama administration’s attempt to deceive the American people about what happened in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, she should be denied confirmation if she is nominated.
Everyone whose name isn’t Romney must by now understand what happened on September 11 and how the Obama team spent weeks lying and spinning to cover it up and avoid the blame they richly deserve.
Some weeks before September 11, some knucklehead produced a cheap video that portrayed Islam in an unkind (if not entirely inaccurate) light. Predictably, there were protests and riots in whatever corners of the world Islamists chose to riot. One of them was Cairo.
One of them was not Benghazi. On September 11, in the absence of any protests, a mob of armed attackers swarmed the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, beginning an attack that lasted about seven hours and spread from the consulate to a nearby CIA outpost. Two former Navy SEALs, then employed by the CIA, violated orders and left the outpost. They headed to the consulate to help the other Americans under attack. After failing to find Ambassador Christopher Stevens or anyone else, they returned to the CIA facility, and were attacked and killed by terrorists there.
Throughout the attack, several requests for armed assistance were sent by the SEALs and/or the others who died. According to a CIA statement, no one in the CIA denied those requests.
Nevertheless, U.S. armed forces — including fighter/attack aircraft stationed about 350 miles away in Sicily — weren’t ordered in. Again, the attack went on for about seven hours. The F-18s could have been there in less than an hour.
Afterward, the White House and the whole Obama regime went into full spin mode. On September 12, Obama said that we’d find the perps and bring them to justice. He didn’t — despite what he and Candy Crowley later insisted — label the attack a terrorist act. To the contrary, for weeks the administration spun the story that the attack was a spontaneous reaction to the anti-Islam video. It was a lie then, it is a lie now, and they knew it all along.
Nevertheless, the lovely and charming Ambassador Rice went on five — count ’em, five — Sunday talk shows the weekend after the attack to insist that the Benghazi riot was a reaction to the video. During one she declared that it was “definitely not” a terrorist attack. By then this was an obvious lie. So how did she come to say it?
President Obama, in full indignation mode, said a couple of days ago that Rice was just making a “presentation” on the Sunday shows, and that no one should pick on her because she had nothing to do with what happened in Benghazi. This explains why she was asked to go out on the spin tour: she was the State Department’s Sergeant Schultz, who knew nothing beyond the talking points she was given. She was sent to spin a lie without the ability to answer any question outside the “presentation” the White House prepared for her.
Rice was made to say certain things the administration knew were false. So who crafted her dishonest message?
By now everyone who isn’t named Romney also knows pretty much everything that former CIA Director David Petraeus testified in a secret congressional hearing on Friday. Petraeus committed the sin of telling the truth, at least this time. After the incident, he reportedly told some congressional intelligence committee members that the anti-Islam video was implicated in the attack. But on Friday, he told Congress — apparently in very specific terms — that he believed from the day of the attack that the Benghazi incident was perpetrated by al Qaeda affiliates. For those of you who are students at Berkeley or MSNBC employees: that means the attackers were terrorists and the CIA probably knew that from the time the attack started.
Petraeus also testified that the CIA’s prepared talking points were changed by someone outside the agency before Rice delivered her “presentation” on the Sunday shows. Nobody knows who, but it had to be either her bosses at State, meaning Hillary Clinton, or at the White House, meaning David Axelrod and Obama.
Obama said Rice made a “presentation” and that anyone who takes issue with it should criticize him, not her. “Presentation” is a very odd term in the context Obama used it. But we should take it at face value. What that means is that she was sent out to say something specific on behalf of the administration she serves. When she said that the attack on Benghazi was “definitely not” a terrorist attack, she was presenting Obama’s view, despite the facts.
To blame the CIA’s talking points for Rice’s lies, as the White House is doing, is risible. Obama is to blame for the lies. But doesn’t Rice, as a senior official, have any responsibility for what she says officially?
Of course she does, and the proper place to hold her accountable would be within the White House. But that is as risible an idea as blaming the CIA for what she said. With Barack Obama in charge, the only way to hold her accountable is in a confirmation hearing, either for reappointment to her current post or in considering her rumored nomination for Secretary of State.
No one should be rewarded for behavior such as hers. If she is nominated, Senate Republicans will have the responsibility to question her closely, demand answers about the Benghazi lies, and block her nomination. Rice will neither recant nor repent. She should not be confirmed to any government post. Not even postmistress of her local zip code.
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