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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 862

Susan Rice faces obstacles to become secretary of state despite her dialogue with opposing senators

Daya Gamage - US National Correspondent Asian Tribune
Washington, D.C. 28 November (Asiantribune.com):

Susan_Rice.jpgThe U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice who allegedly gave an interpretation to the September 11 attack on the American diplomatic post in Benghazi in Libya linking it to a hate video on Prophet Mohamed when it was disclosed a pre-meditated terrorist onslaught was struggling to put her secretary of state ambition on the track when she met three Republican senators Tuesday morning at Capitol Hill.

It seems that she could not convince the senators, McCain, Graham and Ayotte who have vowed to block if the Obama administration nominated her to the post of secretary of state when Senator Linsey Graham said “Bottom line, I’m more disturbed now than I was before,” after the meeting.

Rice and acting CIA director Morell are reportedly under consideration to serve as the next secretary of state and CIA director, respectively.

The Republican senators have repeatedly said they are concerned with how Rice explained what caused the Benghazi attack during a series of Sept. 16 appearances on Sunday political talk shows. At the time, Rice said that a spontaneous demonstration led to the violence, a claim later debunked by intelligence officials and reports from the ground.

Rice said there was no intent on her part or on the part of the administration to mislead American citizens.

“In the course of the meeting, we explained that the talking points provided by the intelligence community, and the initial assessment upon which they were based, were incorrect in a key respect: there was no protest or demonstration in Benghazi,” Rice said in a statement. “While, we certainly wish that we had had perfect information just days after the terrorist attack, as is often the case, the intelligence assessment has evolved. We stressed that 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.”

Senators Maccain, Graham and Ayotte.jpg

But McCain told reporters that he and his colleagues remain “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.”

McCain and his colleagues emerged from the 90-minute private encounter to say they were "significantly troubled" by Rice's explanation of her earlier accounts of the attack on the US mission.

Four Americans died in the attack on 11 September, including the US ambassador to Libya, Chris Stephens. Five days after the incident, the White House put forward Rice to appear on the weekend talk shows in the US to give an explanation for what happened. Rice said the attack occurred after a spontaneous protest against an anti-Muslim film that had been produced in the US. The White House later said the Benghazi incident was a terrorist attack.

At the meeting with senators on Tuesday, Rice said her earlier version had been based on "incorrect" talking points given to her by the intelligence services.

Rice, who is reported to be Obama's favored choice to replace Hillary Clinton at the State Department, insisted she had not intended to mislead the public. She told the senators that when she said on television that al-Qaida had been defeated, she meant that its core had been defeated.

Senator McCain, who appeared to be even more irritated with Rice than before the meeting, was blunt. "We are significantly troubled by many of the answers that we got and some that we didn't get. It is clear the information that [Rice] gave the American people was incorrect when she said it was a spontaneous demonstration triggered by a hateful video. It was not, and there was compelling evidence at the time that that was certainly not the case."

Susan Rice is scheduled to meet more Republican Senators on Wednesday, but as it is it seems that it is not a smooth run for her toward getting into Hilary Clinton's shoes.

- Asian Tribune -

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