As PJM’s Bridget Johnson reports, President Obama’s dice-rolling attempt to clear the path for Susan Rice to succeed Hillary Clinton appears to have bombed. Ms. Rice, the president’s ambassador to the UN, called for a meeting with three of her most vocal Republican critics — Senators John McCain (AZ), Lindsey Graham (SC) and Kelly Ayotte (NH). The senators obliged her this morning and, evidently, came away from the meeting more troubled than ever.
The problem ought to be obvious: Rice cannot possibly have a good explanation for the preposterous story she was dispatched by the president to tell the country on the Sunday shows after the Benghazi atrocity in which Islamist terrorists killed four Americans.
The administration’s problem is reminiscent of the shoddy defense lawyer who is so taken in by his own spin that he can’t understand why others see right through it — a problem that the president’s adoring media exacerbates by not challenging him. We have our disagreements here at Ordered Liberty with Senators McCain and Graham, but neither they nor Sen. Ayotte are babes in the Washington woods, particularly on matters of national security and intelligence. Unless they were just dying to be won over by Ms. Rice (thankfully, they were not), they knew exactly what questions to ask — questions for which there are no good answers.
The administration’s line, parroted by everyone from Obama on down, is that Rice’s abysmal performance on the Sunday show came about because she, automaton-like, merely relayed what the intelligence community told her. This has always been absurd on its face and is especially unbecoming for an official who is asking to be promoted to even greater responsibilities.
The intelligence community, particularly the CIA, knew that the Benghazi operation was a terrorist attack while it was happening. The White House, including the president, no doubt, was also aware of the fact that a terrorist attack was underway. The State Department, of which Rice is a high ranking official, is not an outlier — it is actually part of the intelligence community, with a division called the “Bureau of Intelligence and Research” that is an intelligence agency and has access to all intel relevant to U.S. foreign policy. The players here were not in the dark, and if they had been they had the means to be brought up to speed quickly.
There is no sugar-coating this: the administration lied to to country about what happened. The massacre was a foreseeable result of Obama’s policy of empowering Islamists. Moreover, the massacre cut against the Obama campaign narrative that killing bin Laden had effectively destroyed al-Qaeda. The Mohammed movie was blamed in order to divert attention from those facts as the administration played out the clock until election day. Rice, an ambitious Obama loyalist, was sent out to convey the misleading version of events and dutifully complied.