Opinion: Susan Rice’s Meeting With GOP Leaders Made Benghazi Matters Worse
On Tuesday morning, the United States’ Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice and acting CIA Director Michael Morell, who has replaced General David Petraeus who resigned over his extramarital affair, met with three Republican leaders on Capitol Hill to discuss the ongoing concerns over comments Ambassador Rice made regarding the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya. The GOP leaders who met with Rice and Morell were Senators John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire who are three of the most outspokenly critical federal congressmen regarding the comments Rice made on numerous national political news talk shows five days after the deadly Benghazi attack The September 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya was on the anniversary of the September 11 al-Qaeda attack committed on Americans eleven years ago, and many correctly and immediately called the attack a terrorist attack.
Yet, the White House would not admit that the attack was due to terrorism and, instead, asserted that an anti-Islamic amateur film posted on YouTube on the Internet was the reason for the deadly attack that killed four Americans including the United States’ Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stephens.
Nothing positive was taken away from Tuesday’s meeting between the Obama personnel and the congressmen whatsoever. Matters between the two factions are now worse. In fact, Sen. Lindsey Graham boldly stated: “Bottom line, I’m more disturbed now than I was before… The American people got bad information on 16 September, they got bad information from President Obama days after, and the question is – should they have been giving the information at all? If you can do nothing but give bad information, isn’t it better to give no information at all?”
Of course, Sen. Graham’s remarks are right on the mark. Susan Rice’s appearance at the meeting gave no cause for an improved outlook concerning the situation or the misinformation Rice gave repeatedly – five days after the attack. Graham is extremely correct when he said that no information is much worse than the wrong information Rice gave to America via her political talk show appearances on television the weekend following the Benghazi disaster.
Additionally, Sen. John McCain spoke to the press after the meeting with Rice and Morell, and he said: “[I’m] significantly troubled by many of the answers that we got and some that we didn’t get concerning evidence that was overwhelming leading up to the attack on our consulate that we tried to get. It was clear that the information she gave the American people was incorrect, when she said that it was a spontaneous demonstration triggered by a hateful group. It was not and there was compelling evidence at the time that that was certainly not the case.”
Yet, Susan Rice claimed: “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.”
Honestly, what else did anyone think she’d say? At this point, she has to admit that the information was wrong because we now all know – as we knew before she made her incorrect statements – that the information was false.
Now that the Obama White House and senior intelligence officials have reportedly admitted that they approved Susan Rice’s inaccurate talking points about the Benghazi terrorist attack being the reaction to a protest about a film rather than a terrorist attack, the investigation must go on.
Who – in the Obama White House or in the makeup of the senior intelligence officials – approved Rice’s inaccurate and possibly dishonest and absurd talking points? If Rice won’t talk, the congressional investigation needs to find someone who will give the needed information – honestly.
McCain, Graham, Ayotte and others need to press on to find the truth, and then Congress needs to do its job of dealing with those who misled the American people and the Congress – up to, during, and after the Benghazi, Libya deadly attack.
Who refused the requested security in Benghazi as it was requested before the attack on September 11? Who sat in high positions at the White House and watched the event unfold and did nothing to assist the murdered men? Who is responsible for withholding the truth about the deadly attack for at least five days after it occurred? People in our United States government did this and they must be made accountable so that such an incident will never ever happen again.
About Scott Paulson
Scott Paulson writes political commentary for Examiner.com and teaches English at a community college in the Chicago area. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CBS Local.