With Secretary of State Hillary Clinton not sticking around for President Barack Obama’s second term, there has been much speculation that U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice will get the nod for the job.
Rice has been scrutinized for the part she played in shaping the narrative in the days following the terrorist attack on the United States consulate in Benghazi, Libya on September 11th. During an interview on This Week, five days later, Rice claimed that the incident was a “spontaneous” protest against an anti-Islam video gone awry.
But during his testimony before lawmakers on Friday, former CIA Director David Petraeus said that it intelligence officials knew not too long after the incident in Benghazi that it was a terrorist attack carried out by a group with close ties to al-Qaeda. However, Petraus noted that talking points had been edited to remove references to terrorism:
Former CIA Director David Petraeus stoked the controversy over the Obama administration’s handling of the Libya terror attack, testifying Friday that references to “Al Qaeda involvement” were stripped from his agency’s original talking points — while other intelligence officials were unable to say who changed the memo, according to a top lawmaker who was briefed.
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., told Fox News that intelligence officials who testified in a closed-door hearing a day earlier, including Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Acting CIA Director Mike Morell, said they did not know who changed the talking points. He said they went out to multiple departments, including the State Department, National Security Council, Justice Department and White House.
King told reporters that he remembers a different version of the story from Petraeus, who initially supported the talking point of Obama Administration that Benghazi was a protest gone wrong. The White House insists that they only made a small change to the talking points that were ultimately used by administration officials, including Rice.
This issue may ultimately be what keeps Rice out of the job. While Senate Democrats gained a couple of seats in the election, they’re still short of the 60 votes needed to break a filibuster of Rice’s nomination. Even Maureen Dowd and Dana Milbank are now explaining that Rice is done before even nominated for the job.
President Obama can complain all he wants about her taking blame, but Rice was the spokesperson for his administration on what happened in Benghazi. The story she was told to push turned out to be on based on a narrative which left the impression that the White House was trying to hide the truth. Rice is damaged goods, and Obama even thinking about nominating her is an insult to Americans and the memory of the men who died in Benghazi.