GOP Senators McCain (R-AZ), Graham (R-SC) and Ayotte (R-NH), met with Ambassador Susan Rice behind closed doors to learn her version predicating her appearance on national talk shows regarding events in Benghazi on September 11. Also in attendance was the interim director of the CIA.
Following the meeting Senator Graham continued to question Rice’s errant September 16 characterization of the attacks in Libya, which resulted in the deaths of four Americans.
“I’m more disturbed now than I was before that the 16 September explanation of how four Americans died in Benghazi, Libya by Ambassador Rice,” he told reporters. He argued that her comments, in which she erroneously suggested the violence may have resulted from spontaneous riots over an anti-Muslim video, were not only wrong in hindsight, but were also “disconnected from reality” based on information that was available at the time.
“If anybody had been looking at the threats coming out of Benghazi, Libya, it would jump out at you this was Al-Qaeda storm in the making,” he said. “I’m very disappointed in our intelligence community, they failed in many ways, but with a little bit of inquiry and curiosity I think it would be pretty clear that to explain this episode as related to a video that created a mob that turned into a riot was far afield.”
Graham suggested that Rice should have not made any statement on the September 16 shows.
“The American people got bad information.”
“If you don’t know what happened, just say you don’t know what happened,” Graham said. “If you can do nothing but give bad information, isn’t it better to give no information at all?”
Both Graham and Ayotte suggested that they still had too many questions to support Rice if Mr. Obama were to nominate her to the Secretary of State.
“Before anybody could make an intelligent decision about promoting someone involved in Benghazi, we need to do a lot more,” said Graham. “To this date we don’t have the FBI interviews of the survivors conducted one or two days after the attack.”
(Below the video clip is the statement from Susan Rice regarding the meeting.)