UNITED NATIONS (AP) – U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice said Wednesday that her early account of the attack that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans in Benghazi was based on the initial intelligence community assessments and was always subject to review and updates.
She said she respects Republican Sen. John McCain, who has been critical of her, but says “some of the statements he’s made about me have been unfounded, but I look forward to having the opportunity at the appropriate time to discuss all of this with him.”
Her comments attributing the attacks to a mob enraged over an anti-Muslim video posted on YouTube were widely denounced by Republicans during the U.S. presidential campaign. The attack came on the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks on the United States, and her critics said it was clearly a terrorist attack aimed at the anniversary. U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed.
The focus has fallen on Rice because she is a longtime White House insider and is believed to be President Barack Obama’s first choice to replace Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is not expected to stay on during his second term.
Rice told reporters outside the U.N. Security Council: “As a senior U.S. 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 our facilities in Benghazi was obviously a significant piece of this,” Rice said.
Hours before the Benghazi violence, a mob in Cairo attacked the U.S. Embassy there to denounce the videos as anti-Islamic blasphemy.
“When discussing the attack against our facilities in Benghazi, I relied solely and squarely on the information provided to me by the intelligence community,” she said.
“I made clear that the information was preliminary, and that our investigations would give us the definitive answers,” she added.
“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,” she said.
“Let me just end by saying I knew Chris Stevens. I worked closely with him and had the privilege of doing so as we tried together, as a government, to free the Libyan people from the tyranny of (Libyan leader Moammar) Gadhafi. He was a valued colleague, and his loss, as well as the loss of his three colleagues, is a massive tragedy for all of us who serve in the U.S. government, and for all the American people,” Rice said.
“None of us will rest, none of us will be satisfied until we have the answers, and the terrorists responsible for this attack are brought to justice,” she said.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- Failed back surgery: New hope for patients living in pain
- Ticking time bombs: Telltale signs your water heater is about to explode
- Reading glasses could be a thing of the past
- 6 cool ways teachers are using technology in the classroom
- Emerging tech jobs in Phoenix and how to get one in 2017
- 4 top treatments athletes use for pain
- Emergency! What to do when bathrooms flood
- Operation Santa Claus needs holiday help
- This college bowl season is likely to be epic
- Arizona kids in crisis: How you can help
- 11 holiday classics for the ultimate movie marathon
- 2016 college football rivalry games you simply can't miss
- New treatment offers hope for migraine sufferers
- 11 stadiums to watch your favorite football team
- Shopping for a TV? Best models for 2016
- The new beer pairing guide for holiday foods
- Avoid this holiday plumbing disaster in your home
- 7 tips to avoid holiday weight gain
- New treatments mean better prostate cancer survival rates
- 5 of the scariest things found in drains
- 6 tips to create the best family movie night
- New bone marrow procedure holds promise for healing pain
- The best places to celebrate Fall in Phoenix
- Infamous athletes who did the most time for their crimes
- Diet, exercise and aspirin: 3 tools to fight colon cancer
- 2016 baseball highlights, bloopers and blunders
- See how CFOs really feel about business in the Valley
- The best television shows on the internet
- The 5 worst things you could do for your roof
- 6 coolest things brewing in Arizona