I think it's worth taking a moment to truly review what Ambassador Rice really did say on Meet the Press on Sept 16th, just five days after our Consulate in Benghazi was attacked and Ambassador Steven along with 3 others were killed.
Gregory: the images, as you well know is jarring to americans watching this play out this week, and we'll share the map of this turmoil with our viewers to show the scale of it across not just the arab world but the entire islamic world. and flashpoints as well. in egypt, of course, the protests outside the u.s. embassy there that egyptian officials were slow to put down. this weekend in pakistan, protests as well there. more anti-american rage. also protests against the drone strike. in yemen, you had arrests and some deaths outside of our u.s. embassy there. how much longer can americans expect to see these troubling images and these protests go forward?So it's quite clear, Amassador Rice did not assert with certainty that they knew for a fact that the Benghazi attack was definitively a "spontaneous, copycat" attack. She did say "that was the information they had at the time", and from what we've seen so far she may have been right at least from her own point of view in New York at the UN - as of that moment. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said it was a Terrorist Attack just Four Days Later on Sept 20th. Then Secretary Clinton acknowledged it was a Terrorist Attack another day later on Sept 21.
Rise: well, david, we can't predict with any certainty. but let's remember what has transpired over the last several days. this is a response to a hateful and offensive video that was widely disseminated throughout the arab and muslim world. obviously, our view is that there is absolutely no excuse for violence, and that what has happened is condemnable. but this is a spontaneous reaction to a video, and it's not dissimilar but perhaps on a slightly larger scale than what we have seen in the past with "the satanic verses" and cartoons of the prophet muhammad. the president has been clear that our top priority is protection of american personnel in our facilities and bringing to justice those who attacked our facilities.
Gregory: you talked about this as spontaneous. can you say definitively that the attacks on our consulate in lybia that killed ambassador stevens and others there was spontaneous? was it a planned attack? was there a terrorist element to it?
Rice: let me tell you the best information we have at present. first of all, there's an fbi investigation that's ongoing and we look to that investigation to give us the definitive word as to what transpired. but putting together the best information that we have available to us today, our current assessment is that what happened in benghazi was, in fact, initially a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired hours before in cairo, almost a copycat of the demonstrations against our facility in cairo, which were prompted, of course, by the video. what we think then transpired in benghazi is that opportunistic extremist elements came to the consulate as this was unfolding. they came with heavy weapons, which unfortunately, are readily available in post revolutionary libya. and it escalated into a much more violent episode. obviously, that's our best judgment now. we'll await the results of the investigation, and the president has been very clear we'll work with the libyan authorities to bring those responsible to justice.
Gregory: was there a failure here that this administration is responsible for, whether it's an intelligence failure, a failure to see this coming, or a failure adequately protect u.s. embassies and installations from a spontaneous reaction like this?
Rice : david, i don't think so. first of all, we had no actionable intelligence to suggest that any attack on our facility in benghazi was imminent. in cairo, we did have indications that there was the risk that the video might spark some protests, and our embassy, in fact, acted accordingly, and had called upon the egyptian authorities to reinforce our facility. what we have seen with respect to the security response, obviously, we had security personnel in benghazi, a significant number, and tragically, among those four that were killed were two of our security personnel. but what happened, obviously, overwhelmed the security we had in place, which is why the president ordered additional reinforcements to tripoli and why elsewhere in the world we have been working with governments to ensure they take up their obligations to protect us and we reinforce where necessary.
And then we flash forward to today, where the true madness did ensue on Capital Hill and elsewhere.
Let's just skip merrily past the graveyard that Republicans voted to Cut Security Funding for our Embassies, and that during this hearing they apparently Revealed Classified Information Live on C-Span - never mind all that.
Let me just point out how things start to go downhill today on The Cycle once (Pet Conservative) S.E. Cupp decided to chime in with the Wingnut Talking Point du jour.
S.E. : well, look. i'm not going to politicize this. it has political implications but whether obama is up for re-election or someone else or a year away, this is an issue that will have serious consequences for months to come and it needs a serious look. and the only timeline i think that matters to me is the one that i've been laying out. i'm on state department phone calls. talked to libyan counterterrorism officials, folks in the state department. the timeline is one of negligence, incompetence and duplicity. negligence in failing to secure the assets and nancy pelosi's statement is incompetent. the discussion of seven different agencies saying seven different things about what this was tied to, the state department yesterday saying that it never thought it was about a video. meanwhile nine days later the president out sayinging it was about a video and susan rice was not telling the truth. she's not been telling the truth for sometime now. so, whatever -- whatever the ramifications or obama or hillary or daryl issa is secondary. we need to find out how it happened.Ok, so the argument here is that Ambassador Rice "Lied" when she said what "she thought" based on the best information she had "at that moment", and that the 'FBI Investigation would be definitive".
Krystal: that's a heavy and unsubstantiated claim about ambassador susan rice.
S.E: she is not telling the truth. i'll say it to the camera. she's not been telling the truth. i'm not the first to say. she's not telling the truth.
Krystal : s.e. i don't know what she could gain from lying about this.
S.E. : oh, there's plenty to gain. you laid out the political implications of what to gain.
Krystal : that's unsubstantiated.
S. E. : the state department and the administration are saying totally different things than she is.
Krystal : s.e. a mind reader.
S.E. : the truth.
That investigation is still ongoing so it's very well possible we will make more discoveries about this. And here's the thing, If she deliberately Lied to protect the Administration - why'd the Administration Throw Her Under the Bus Four Days Later By Saying the Attack was Terrorism?
It's fair to argue that this could simply be confusion based on differing reports, or differing comprehension of those reports. And oh, by the way people make Mistakes. Sometimes people are just plain Wrong. I've talked about this and specifically "Confirmation Bias" where someone starts with a preconception and a premise and then have a difficult time even conceiving or accepting that a different set of facts may be play.
To be honest we saw a lot of this same type of thing, with conflicting stories and accounts, coming out in the first few days following the raid on Bin Laden in Abbadabad. It's clearly a thing when something exceptional happens. The Obama Administration needs to work on this.
The question is do you cling to your preconceptions or do you adjust your view to the new facts on the ground? I could accept that S.E. has a different view on this...
But then she to go and Tweet-Whine about it.
When you call her "Liar" but not Romney @secupp I point out the obvious -- that Susan Rice has not been truthful -- and they yell "racist!"— Vyan (@Vyan1) October 10, 2012
Nobody on air called her "Racist" - that didn't happen. I don't know what happened off air, or what others may have tweeted to her, and if that did happen it's Fracked Up - but the point is this.
How exactly is what Rice said any more of a "Lie" than what Dick Cheney said...
Dick Cheney on Meet the Press March 16, 2003:
"And I think that would be the fear here, that even if [Saddam] were tomorrow to give everything up, if he stays in power we have to assume that as soon as the world is looking the other way and preoccupied with other issues he'll be back again rebuilding his BW and CW capabilities, and once again reconstituting his nuclear program. "We know he has reconstituted these programs since the Gulf War. We know he's out trying once again to produce nuclear weapons, and we know he has a long-standing relationship with various terrorist groups, including the al Qaeda organization.But none of that was a "Lie". Nor was this from June of 2005.
Cheney: "I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency."Or This from Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice.
RICE: Well, August 6th is most certainly an historical document that says, Here's how you might think about Al Qaida. A warning is when you have something that suggests that an attack is impending. And we did not have, on the United States, threat information that was, in any way, specific enough to suggest that something was coming in the United States.A "Historical" document that included some of the following.
An intelligence report received in May 2001 indicating that al Qaeda was trying to send operatives to the United States through Canada to carry out an attack using explosives. That information had been passed on to intelligence and law enforcement agencies.Yeah, right, that's "Historical", but Ambassador Susan Rice is a "Liar".
An allegation that al Qaeda had been considering ways to hijack American planes to win the release of operatives who had been arrested in 1998 and 1999.
An allegation that bin Laden was set on striking the United States as early as 1997 and through early 2001.
Intelligence suggesting that suspected al Qaeda operatives were <>traveling to and from the United States, were U.S. citizens, and may have had a support network in the country.
A report that at least 70 FBI investigations were under way in 2001 regarding possible al Qaeda cells/terrorist-related operations in the United States.
All of this reminds me to a tweet exchange I had a couple days ago.
And then he came back again after blaming Obama for the death of Ambassador Stevens and started to blame him for the deaths of our troops in Afghanistan, bad idea.
I can accept the possibility that in all of these cases self-delusion brought about by Confirmation Bias could be as much at play as anything else. (That's how you get Colin Powell at the UN with the vile of fairy dust powder in his hand, he's since admitted he never even conceived of the possibility that it was all B.S.! He never even asked that question - "Are we Full of it?") The difference is that the Obama Administration has corrected themselves even if it embarrassed Ambassador Rice. The Bush Administration Never Did they just kept squirming to the next self-aggrandizing talking point.
If Benghazi deaths are on Obama LOGIC dictates that Bush gets all US deaths in 9/11,Iraq &Afghan "@indyconserv How many dead ambassadors?"— Vyan (@Vyan1) October 8, 2012
Just like Mitt Romney does.
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