PHOENIX, December 13, 2012 ― U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice announced Thursday that she is withdrawing from consideration as the next Secretary of State. Unfortunately, her withdrawal will only further obscure the truth of what happened during the September 11 Benghazi terrorist attack.
The withdrawal was a smart, calculated move by Rice, who would have faced staunch opposition and stiff questioning from Republican senators about Benghazi and the four Americans who died there.
Opposition to Rice’s potential nomination for the top State Department position mounted when she made the worst blunder of her political career, strenuously defending a false explanation of the terrorist attack on a U.S. diplomatic mission.
Rice conveyed the White House “talking points” to America on five Sunday talk shows, declaring that an Internet video was the reason the attack occurred.
She stuck to these “talking points,” either because she didn’t know what was in the classified intelligence briefings, or because she was more interested in being a good soldier for the Obama administration than in the truth. Neither speaks well of Rice, especially if she were considered for as prestigious and crucial a position as Secretary of State.
In spite of his vocal support for Rice, President Obama is probably pleased with the announcement, as his administration’s failure to respond to the terrorist attack would have been a major focus of a confirmation hearing, putting the events in Benghazi under sustained public scrutiny. In the course of a confirmation hearing, Rice would have been compelled to testify under oath about the events in Benghazi, shedding light on the Obama Administration’s inadequate preparation and response to the attack.
While Republicans like Sen. John McCain, Sen. Lindsey Graham, and Sen. Kelly Ayotte may be happy that Rice will no longer be considered to lead State, finding the truth on the Benghazi terrorist attack is now much less unlikely.
It has been confirmed by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that the White House denied “repeated requests” for increased security at the Benghazi consulate, though it isn’t known who denied these repeated requests for additional security personnel. Was it the White House, or the State Department?
In an interview with ABC’s Jake Tapper, Rice claimed that there was “a substantial security presence,” in Benghazi, even though the consulate had requested additional help. Does Rice still stand by that claim?
Now we’ll probably never know.
The congressional hearings would have made the administration response to the attack a matter of public record that couldn’t be ignored by the media or the White House.
McCain has given some hope to those seeking the full truth on the terror attack. His office announced that the Arizona senator will continue to pursue the matter.
“He will continue to seek all the facts about what happened before, during and after the attack on our consulate in Benghazi that killed four brave Americans,” McCain spokesman Brian Rogers announced in a statement Thursday.
Ayotte also stressed her concerns, saying, “my concerns regarding the terrorist attack in Benghazi go beyond any one individual. I remain deeply troubled by the continued lack of information from the White House and the State Department. With four of our public servants murdered, it is critical that we get to the bottom of what happened.”
While Rice isn’t the best choice for secretary of state, her nomination would have brought renewed attention to the Benghazi attack, with testimony that might have been just what was needed to get to the truth.
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