Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) is calling for U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice's resignation after she gave out the "misleading and wrong" information that the assault on the U.S. Consulate in Libya was "spontaneous" and in response to an anti-Islam film.
"The fact is she gave out information which was either intentionally or unintentionally misleading and wrong and there should be consequences for that," King, who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, told National Review Online Friday. "I don’t see how she didn’t know how that that information was wrong. What she could have and should have said was the final word isn’t in yet, certainly strong evidence that there was strong terrorist involvement, [but identifying] the exact nature it’ll take us a few more days. That would have been legitimate.”
King repeated his call on CNN, saying Rice had committed "such a failure of foreign policy message and leadership, such a misstatement of facts as was known at the time."
"For her to go on all of those shows and in effect be our spokesman for the world and be misinforming the American people and our allies and countries around the world, to me, somebody has to pay the price for this,” he said. "To rule out terrorism, to say it was not terrorism at that time was to me a terrible mistake to make, whether it was intentionally or unintentionally, and to show the significance of that I believe that she should resign."
The Sunday after the consulate attack that killed U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, Rice said "the best information at present" indicated it was not a premeditated assault.
"This is a response to a hateful and offensive video that was widely disseminated throughout the Arab and Muslim world,” Rice said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "Obviously our view is that there is absolutely no excuse for violence and what has happened is condemnable. But this is a spontaneous reaction to a video."
News reports this week said U.S. intelligence officials knew the Benghazi attack was an act of terrorism within 24 hours. After initially standing by the explanation that the assault was a response to the film, White House press secretary Jay Carney classified it as a terrorist attack.
In a statement Friday, Director of Public Affairs for National Intelligence Shawn Turner said new information prompted the change in classification.
"In the immediate aftermath, there was information that led us to assess that the attack began spontaneously following protests earlier that day at our embassy in Cairo. We provided that initial assessment to Executive Branch officials and members of Congress, who used that information to discuss the attack publicly and provide updates as they became available," Turner said. "Throughout our investigation we continued to emphasize that information gathered was preliminary and evolving. As we learned more about the attack, we revised our initial assessment to reflect new information indicating that it was a deliberate and organized terrorist attack carried out by extremists.