After Senators Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) emerged from yesterday’s meeting with Ambassador Rice with greater concern about the cover-up of Benghazi, White House spokesman Jay Carney slammed Republicans’ “obsession” with Rice’s Benghazi explanation.
Carney said that as of Nov. 27, the Obama administration “still does not know who carried out the assault, which claimed the lives Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.” He said what is known is that continued criticism of Rice is “politically motivated.”
In all fairness to Carney and the rest of the Obama White House, the watching world knew this attack was terror-related within 24 hours. The FBI and National Counterterrorism Center described it as premeditated terrorism on Sept. 13, and on Nov. 16 former-CIA Director David Petraeus said Al Qaeda’s involvement in the attack was known “almost immediately.”
For those who somehow missed all these proceedings and announcements, Senator Graham emerged yesterday from his time with Rice saying, “just a little bit of inquiry and curiosity” would have told her and President Obama that Al Qaeda was behind the attack from the start.
Nevertheless, Carney says “Rice has no responsibility for collecting, analyzing, and providing intelligence, nor does she have responsibility as United States Ambassador to the United Nations for diplomatic security around the globe.”
In saying these things, Carney is distracting from the very point Senator Ayotte made when she emerged from her time with Rice yesterday. That point wasn’t about diplomatic security, collecting intelligence, or analyzing it. Rather, Ayotte’s point was about Rice’s seeming inability to call things the way they are.
Said Ayotte: “It’s clear from the beginning we knew those with ties to Al Qaeda were involved in the attack on the embassy,” but the information Rice gave to the American people “was wrong.”