Senators Comment on Ambassador Rice Letter Regarding Benghazi Terrorist Attack
Administration failed to protect Americans and may have selected intelligence that mischaracterized attack
WASHINGTON - In an October 4 letter to U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Ron Johnson (R-WI), U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice responded to the senators' inquiry about her repeated and inaccurate characterization of the attack in Benghazi as a "spontaneous reaction" that was not preplanned. In yesterday's letter, Ambassador Rice wrote, "I relied solely and squarely on the information the intelligence community provided to me...This information represented the intelligence community's best, current assessment as of the date of my television appearances." Ambassador Rice also asserted in the letter that "the U.S. intelligence community and the FBI have launched a comprehensive effort to determine the circumstances surrounding the assault..."
Senators McCain, Graham, Ayotte, and Johnson responded with the following statement:
"The Obama administration failed to sufficiently protect our consulate and diplomats in Benghazi in the face of obvious and growing threats in eastern Libya in the months leading up to the September 11, 2012, terrorist attack. To make matters worse, the administration mishandled its response to the attack and appears to have selected intelligence that mischaracterized the attack and misled the American people.
"Elements of the intelligence community apparently told the administration within hours of the attack that militants connected with al Qaeda were involved, yet Ambassador Rice claims her comments five days later reflected the ‘best' and ‘current' assessment of the intelligence community. Either the Obama administration is misleading Congress and the American people, or it is blaming the entire failure on the intelligence community.
"Ambassador Rice claims the administration launched a ‘comprehensive' effort to determine what happened in Benghazi, but the administration failed to secure the scene of the terrorist attack for three weeks - allowing evidence and sensitive information to be compromised and destroyed. From beginning to end, the administration's behavior in the wake of the attack indicates a breathtaking level of incompetence and suggests an intent to deliberately mislead Congress and the American people."