Questions continue to swirl surrounding the Sept. 11 attack in Benghazi, Libya, that left four Americans dead. Among the most confounding factors were inaccurate comments made by U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice in the wake of the assault. The embattled administration official appeared last night on Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show” to discuss the government’s handling of the crisis.
During the exchange, the host challenged Rice on some of the confusing and contradictory information that emerged in the wake of the terror attack. The ambassador also issued some tough words for those who still believe the Obama administration is hiding key information.
Stewart wasted no time launching into his questioning. Almost as soon as Rice sat down, he asked the ambassador why she was selected to speak out on Sunday morning shows and pondered why someone else more appropriate (i.e. Hillary Clinton or another official) wasn’t chosen. The ambassador gave this long-winded answer:
“I’ve spent many-a-Sunday doing the Sunday shows. In this case, Secretary Clinton, who had been asked originally to do it, felt that she didn’t want to, couldn’t do it that week, having been through quite an intense week with the loss of our colleagues in Benghazi, the violence against our embassies all over the Arab and Muslim world and then — also that Friday having to join President Obama in greeting the families of our fallen colleagues and bringing their bodies back.”
As far as the intelligence she relied upon goes, Rice overwhelmingly defended it, but did note that there was at least one bit of information that ended up being incorrect. Claims that a protest had resulted from an anti-Islam film in Benghazi were false. While this story was incorrect, Rice doubled-down to defend the rest of the intelligence that was gathered, claiming that it has held up over time.
“I shared the best information that our intelligence community had at the time,” she said, repeating a line that has frequently been issued to address criticism over the past few months. “They provided the talking points that I used. And they were wrong in one respect, we learned subsequently. And that is that there wasn’t, in fact, a protest.”
Watch part one of the interview, below:
As the interview progressed, Rice seemed somewhat impatient with those who continue to question the administration’s handling of the event. She told Stewart that she believes “there have been ample opportunities for them to understand what’s going on.”
Stewart responded by lightly grilling Rice on a number of issues, particularly the ever-confusing comments that came from a variety of administration officials about where the talking points originated. After recapping the confusion, Stewart told Rice, “It does look like there’s a great deal of confusion there.” Then, the ambassador launched into her views on the “bigger tragedy” in this scenario:
“There’s always confusion when you have a tragedy of that sort and Americans are killed. The bigger tragedy is we’ve spent all of these months trying to figure out the origin of some talking points which were cleared at the highest levels of the intelligence community and, in my opinion, not enough time doing the service we owe to our fallen colleagues…”
While Stewart also wondered if disorganized bureaucracy played a role in the mismanagement of the situation, Rice took a different view, saying that, “folks were doing their very best with what they had and it wasn’t good enough in these circumstances.”
And when Stewart asked her to respond critics who are demanding more answers and contending that the administration is hiding something, Rice issued some tough words.
“They’re dead wrong,” she said. “And they are, in fact, doing a disservice to those we lost.”
Watch these comments, below:
In part three, the two shifted gears to discuss North Korea:
What do you think about Rice’s comments about Benghazi? Let us know in the comments section, below.