WASHINGTON — US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice yesterday conceded that an early account she gave about the attack on the US mission in Benghazi, Libya, was partly inaccurate, but her admission failed to win over Republican senators who accused her of misleading the public.
Rice met for about an hour behind closed doors at the US Capitol with Republican Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte, who have threatened to block her nomination if President Barack Obama chooses her for secretary of state or another top post in his second-term cabinet.
They have criticised her for initial comments after the September 11 attack in Benghazi that suggested it was a spontaneous event arising from protests over an anti-Islam film rather than a premeditated attack.
The US ambassador to Libya and three other Americans were killed in the attack on the Benghazi mission and a nearby CIA annex. Intelligence officials later said the attack was possibly tied to al Qaeda affiliates.
“We are significantly troubled by many of the answers that we got, and some that we didn’t get, concerning evidence that was overwhelming leading up to the attack on our consulate,” McCain told reporters after the meeting.
“It is clear that the information that she gave the American people was incorrect when she said that it was a spontaneous demonstration triggered by a hateful video,” he said.
“It was not, and there was compelling evidence at the time that that was certainly not the case, including statements by Libyans as well as other Americans who are fully aware that people don’t bring mortars and rocket-propelled grenades to spontaneous demonstrations,” McCain said. (Reuters)