On Wednesday at a UN press briefing, a reporter asked Rice to explain her view of the controversy concerning her 9/16 comments on five Sunday news shows regarding the 9/11 Benghazi attack that took the lives of four Americans. Thus spake Rice:
As a senior US diplomat, I agreed to a White House request to appear on the Sunday shows to talk about the full range of national security issues of the day, which at that time were primarily and particularly the protests that were enveloping and threatening many diplomatic facilities—American diplomatic facilities—around the world and Iran’s nuclear program. The attack on Benghazi—on our facilities in Benghazi—was obviously a significant piece of this.
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. Everyone, particularly the intelligence community, has worked in good faith to provide the best assessment based on the information available. You know the FBI and the State Department’s Accountability Review Board are conducting investigations as we speak, and they will look into all aspects of this heinous terrorist attack to provide what will become the definitive accounting of what occurred.
Translation: I was a dupe!
Rice peddled the same highly rehearsed line virtually verbatim on each of the five Sunday news shows. Here is how she put it on Fox News Sunday: “The best information and the best assessment we have today is that in fact this was not a preplanned, premeditated attack. That happened initially was that it was a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired in Cairo, as a consequence of the video.”
The transparent falsity of Rice’s line at the time inspired me to kill the better part of that Sunday on a series of posts beginning with “Fools and knaves,” followed by part 2, part 3, and part 4. Even Ray Charles could have seen that Rice was blowing smoke.
Considering that the intelligence community suspected terrorism from the very beginning, Erika Johnsen suggests that something doesn’t fit here — “and the most obvious possibility for that missing link is that somebody high up in the food chain tweaked the talking points on a very inconvenient situation with only weeks to go before a close presidential election[.]” See also the painstaking analysis of Carl Cannon’s RCP column “The problem with Susan Rice.”
It is charitable to see Rice as a fool sent on a fool’s errand. I think she was calculating her own advantage and faithfully serving her master. Even if one thinks her a fool on the larger issues of Obama administration foreign policy, as I do, Rice’s defense of her performance requires something like the willing suspension of disbelief. As to that question Paul has been asking, I infer from Rice’s highly scripted statement that Obama, for one, wants a dupe as Secretary of State.