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DENIAL, DECEPTION, OR DIPLOMACY?
by Sharon Rondeau
(Dec. 3, 2012) — The September 11, 2012 attack on a U.S. meeting place, originally deemed a “consulate,” is not the first time Susan Rice has been a spokesperson of the U.S. State Department when Americans have been killed overseas.
Last week, Rice met with several Republican Senators with the intention of explaining her comments made on five Sunday talk shows on September 16, 2012, contending that the Benghazi attack was spurred by “protests” over an anti-Islamic video which was later disclosed to have been produced by Muslims and not the cause of the violence.
Four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, were killed during the attack, which lasted a reported seven hours.
Rice is considered Obama’s top choice for Secretary of State to replace Hillary Clinton, who announced her intentions to leave several months ago. The left-leaning media continues to defend Rice after several Republican Senators have expressed doubts about her qualifications given her role in the Benghazi scandal. ABC News, for whom Rice’s husband is a producer, has referred to Rice’s inaccurate statements on Benghazi as “a PR disaster.“
Senator Lindsey Graham expressed deeper concern with Rice’s actions after meeting with her on Tuesday, along with Sens. John McCain and Kelly Ayotte. Retiring Senator Susan Collins met with Rice separately and subsequently stated that Rice had been “playing a political role” for the Obama regime when she claimed the violence stemmed from spontaneous protests.
McCain has criticized Rice for insisting that the video was to blame for the violence when she allegedly “had access to classified information that indicated the story she was told wasn’t accurate.”
Collins reportedly asked Rice about her role and decisions regarding the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which were bombed almost simultaneously on August 7, 1998, while Rice was working under President Bill Clinton as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs. Rice was confirmed by the Senate after she brought her infant son with her to the confirmation hearings.
She has advised Michael Dukakis, Bill Clinton and Obama on foreign policy. Rice has been known for a lack of tact in her public statements. She decried the Rwandan genocide of 1994 by stating, “”I swore to myself that if I ever faced such a crisis again, I would come down on the side of dramatic action, going down in flames if that was required.”
On September 16, ice was reportedly speaking from talking points prepared by the CIA with references to “Al Qaeda” removed. Former CIA Director David Petraeus testified two months later in front of the House Intelligence Committee that he knew within 24 hours that the attack which killed four Americans in Benghazi was the result of a terrorist attack. He indicated that he did not know who changed the talking points he had provided to National Director of Intelligence James Clapper.
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was a mentor of Susan Rice and considered herself a “family friend.” Rice was reportedly at odds with Albright when Albright expressed a desire to kill Osama bin Laden in 1996 and Rice was opposed. Rice has been described as having a sharp mind and considerable knowledge of foreign affairs but also of “following orders.”
Albright had been asked to provide more security at the Tanzanian and Kenyan embassies prior to the bombings and had refused. The bombings were committed by an affiliate of Al Qaeda and killed 224 Africans, including 12 Americans, Susan Rice made public statements which claimed that the violence was a “law enforcement matter” and not terrorism. Over 4,000 people were injured. The perpetrator, Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, was killed in June 2011 in Somalia.
Prudence Bushnell, the ambassador in Kenya who had contacted Albright for extra security, reacted to the death of Libyan Ambassador Christopher Stevens by stating, “Diplomats deserve a safe workplace. The issue is how do you get out of that workplace and conduct diplomacy when there is chaos around you.”
In 1998, Rice also claimed that the State Department received no prior warning to the attacks. When asked who committed the atrocities, Rice responded, “I don’t have the name handy. It was not a well-known group.”
Nevertheless, Obama still opines that Rice is “extraordinary.”