U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice admitted today that there was no protest nor was there a demonstration in Benghazi before a deadly September 11th attack on the U.S. consulate.
Rice released a statement after meeting with three Republican senators — Lindsey Graham, Kelly Ayotte, and John McCain — the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee.
“I am more disturbed now than before,” said Graham (R-SC).
The Capitol Hill meeting lasted about 90 minutes and also was attended by acting CIA Director Michael Morell.
“I’m significantly troubled by the answers we got and didn’t get,” McCain said.
Rice said the talking points provided by the intelligence community and the initial assessment upon which they were based, “were incorrect in a key respect: there was no protest or demonstration in Benghazi.”
“While, we certainly wish that we had had perfect information just days after the terrorist attack, as is often the case, the intelligence assessment has evolved,” she said in her statement. ”
Rice said she did not intend to mislead the American people.
We stressed that neither I nor anyone else in the Administration intended to mislead the American people at any stage in this process, and the Administration updated Congress and the American people as our assessments evolved.”
McCain has demanded Rice be held accountable for her public explanation of events following the fatal Sept. 11 attacks in Benghazi, Libya. He wouldn’t say Monday whether she could allay his concerns.
“I’m not going to go into the whole tick tock, but it’s clear what my concerns are,” he told Fox News. “She told the American people things that were patently untrue … As I said at the time people don’t go to demonstrations with mortars and rocket propelled grenades.”
Rice, while making the rounds on five Sunday show appearances Sept. 16, five days after the attacks, said they were “spontaneous” violence that seemed to grow out of a protest of an anti-Islamic video. But further scrutiny revealed no evidence of a protest outside the consulate on the night of the attacks, and U.S. intelligence officials later said it appeared to be a pre-planned terrorist attack.
U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed. A local Libyan extremist group that sympathizes with Al Qaeda is suspected of carrying out the attack, though it remains unclear how much planning was involved and how much the anti-Islam video served as a motivating factor.