Another day of congressional testimony for Susan Rice comes with more indications the Ambassador to the United Nations will not become the next Secretary of State.
But do pity Ms. Rice, at least a smidge. With the finger-pointing circus around the Benghazi, Libya fiasco, it’s hard to keep the story straight on what exactly happened and who was responsible for hiding that information from the American people.
- References were removed to not tip off al-Qaeda and were substituted with “extremists,” according to David Petraeus.
- The links to al-Qaeda were too “tenuous” to make public by the Directorate of National Intelligence because the source wasn’t trusted.
- “The talking points were debated and edited by a collective of experts from around the intelligence community,” not just DNI, according to a DNI spokesman.
- The CIA told Senators McCain, Graham, and Ayotte the FBI removed references to al-Qaeda from the talking points “to prevent compromising an ongoing criminal investigation.”
- The CIA later called Senators McCain, Graham, and Ayotte back, saying they had misspoken to them and that they – not the FBI – had edited the talking points.
On the bright side for Ambassador Rice, so far none of the misrepresentations have implicated her or her office as the source of the misinformation. At most (so far), we’ve got diplomatic (Rice and Hillary Clinton) personnel parroting information from the intelligence community whose job it is to resource diplomats.
As I understand it, it’s the DNI, CIA, etc.’s job to gather, interpret, and communicate information so that the diplomatic arm of the federal government can use it. Sure, more and better questions seemingly should have been asked by Clinton and Rice, but ultimate responsibility for knowing and articulating what happened in Benghazi rests somewhere in the alphabet soup of the intelligence community. Those lines of responsibility won’t change if Rice replaces Clinton at State.
Cold comfort, though, since it looks like scuttling Rice’s nomination will be the only chance the Administration’s critics get to actualize their displeasure. Welcome to Washington.