November 26th, 2012
06:08 PM ET
10 years ago

Ambassador Rice to meet with lawmakers on Libya

Washington (CNN) - After facing criticism from Republican lawmakers surrounding her characterization of the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice will hold meetings on Capitol Hill about Libya, an administration official said Monday.

Rice will meet with Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire on Tuesday morning, Ayotte told CNN. She said Rice's staff contacted her office about setting up the meeting.

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As to what she expects out of the meeting, Ayotte said, "I think a big part of it will be about her representations of what happened at Benghazi."

Acting CIA director Mike Morrell will attend meetings later this week, a source said.

McCain, Graham, and Ayotte led the criticism of Rice after her television appearances days after the September attack, which killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens. They and other Republicans said they would block the nomination of Rice, should she be advanced by President Barack Obama to replace Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who has said she will leave her post when a replacement is ready to be installed.

Later in the week, Rice will meet with Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, the top Republican on the homeland security committee, which is investigating the Benghazi attack. Collins has not been as critical of Rice as McCain, Graham and Ayotte but has said Rice needs to explain what happened.

This weekend, McCain expressed more openness to her potentially filling that post, saying he would "give everyone the benefit of explaining their position and the actions that they took. I'd be glad to have the opportunity to discuss these issues with her."

Rice has not been offered the position but is suspected to top the list of possible successors. At a press conference after his re-election, Obama called McCain and Graham's criticism of Rice "outrageous," adding that if they "and others want to go after someone they should go after me."

The ambassador said she was using de-classified talking points that did not reference the attack as a pre-meditated terror attack, and the spokesman for the Director of National Intelligence later said those talking points were prepared by the intelligence community, and not modified by other governmental agencies.

"When discussing the attacks on our facilities in Benghazi, I relied solely and squarely on the information provided to me by the intelligence community. I made clear that the information was preliminary," Rice told reporters last Wednesday.

McCain charged on the floor of the U.S. Senate hours before Obama's post-election press conference that "this president and this administration has either been guilty of colossal incompetence or engaged in a cover up, neither of which are acceptable to the American people."

Republicans have questioned why the administration used Rice as their spokeswoman, rather than an official more closely involved with the investigation, as well as why the U.S. timeline included a protest surrounding a controversial anti-Islam web video, which now appears to have not been a factor.

On Monday, Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, a GOP member of the Foreign Relations Committee who recently said Rice was "not fitting" to be Secretary of State in part because of comments on the attack, appeared to shift his views about Rice.

Inhofe said Rice may have been "thrown under the bus" because she wasn't given the full details of what happened before going on television.

"I assumed she had full knowledge of everything that went on," Inhofe said about his initial criticism of Rice. "I'm not at all convinced of that now. I think she very well could have been thrown under the bus."

Inhofe said Monday he has had no request to meet with Rice at this point but that he would be glad to meet with her.

- CNN's Gregory Wallace contributed to this report

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Filed under: John McCain • Libya • Susan Rice
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. J.V.Hodgson

    First off I believe she was unanimously elected by congress and senate committees to serve as UN ambassador to the UN for the USA.
    Can we all agree therefore that she is not an idiot, and has not underperformed in her role in the UN quite the contrary, which I imagine would contain some very complex analyses and a need to protect national security in how she said things to the UN. Security Council for example!
    Come Benghazi: Republicans
    a) Shoot first and ask questions later Romney ??
    b) We do not actually know what Patraeus said; its classified but he may have " opined " " said" "guessed" it would turn out to an Al Qaeda attack the Day after president said terrorists without identity ( does that really matter)
    c) Then politics intervenes because Republicns thought they could score points either evidence wise or thru unproven conspiracy theories (The USA is world leader here) As usual with the benefit of hindsight.
    d) Now facts are emerging and Republicans can see only a loss in pursuing this.
    That said I think the actions of McCain and Graham stink to hell of dictators.... since when did they have any rights to demand a president cannot choose any nominee he sees fit?? . 2 out of 15 committe members should not be allowed to block an appointment without an unfilibusterable Senate vote.

    November 27, 2012 02:38 am at 2:38 am |
  2. Guest

    Rice fits the criteria. She has been caught lying 5 times on TV and she can't think for herself-"the lord and saviour" said so.

    November 27, 2012 02:58 am at 2:58 am |
  3. Asitis233

    We all know Americans do not trust her to tell the truth. We all know she is seriously tainted. President Obama will have to find someone else to be secretary of state.

    November 27, 2012 04:34 am at 4:34 am |
  4. MontanaTrace

    Lying in the name of politics is nothing new.

    November 27, 2012 05:40 am at 5:40 am |
  5. SafeJourney

    Arizona, will you please come to Washington and pick up your senator and take him home before he really does something to dishonor himself

    November 27, 2012 07:09 am at 7:09 am |
  6. eugene alvarez

    It is of my opinion that if the GOP senators would pull their heads out out the sand and put their hands in their pockets(cant take gifts and favors for their vote) they would see that rice is a good choice! I just wish all of the senators would do that but alas that why they are there isn't it ,just to line their pockets!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 27, 2012 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
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