After the Obama administration pushed the phrase “phony scandal” to describe the various mishaps this year, the National Security Advisor Susan Rice rounded out 2013 proclaiming the Benghazi talking points fiasco a “false controversy.”
US National Security Advisor Susan Rice speaks with US Secretary of State John Kerry during an event on the White House grounds December 2, 2013 in Washington, DC. Obama, Kerry and others spoke at the event about efforts to combat the AIDS epidemic. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI
In an interview Sunday on CBS’s 60 Minutes, Rice was defiant when asked about her claims on five Sunday morning news programs that the terrorist attack on the Benghazi compound that killed four Americans, including then-U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens on Sept. 11, 2012 was a response to an anti-Muslim YouTube video.
“I don’t have time to think about a false controversy,” Rice said. “In the midst of all of the swirl about things like talking points, the administration has been working very, very hard across the globe to review our security of our embassies and our facilities. That’s what we ought to be focused on.”
When Lesley Stahl asked why then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton didn’t do the program, Rice defended Clinton.
“She had just gone through an incredibly painful and stressful week,” Rice said. “Secretary Clinton, as our chief diplomat, had to reach out to the families, had to greet the bodies upon their arrival at Andrews Air Force Base. If I were her, the last thing I would have wanted to do is five Sunday morning talk shows.”
During the report, Stahl said the National Security Advisor position was a consolation prize because President Obama was likely to nominate her to be the new secretary of State, instead of John Kerry.
Stahl asked, “Do you ever think, ‘Gee, I wish I hadn't done that.’? You know, if you hadn't done that, I'd be calling you Madam Secretary of State maybe.”
Rice just said, “Well, you can call me Susan.”
On another topic, Rice reiterated the administration’s defense of the National Security Agency data mining program, while rejecting amnesty for government contractor-turned fugitive leaker Edward Snowden.
“It’s been worth what we've done to protect the United States,” Rice said. “And the fact that we have not had a successful attack on our homeland since 9/11 should not be diminished. But that does not mean that everything we're doing as of the present ought to be done the same way in the future.”