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Entries in Benghazi (27)

Wednesday
May152013

Boehner Says Jail Time Possible in IRS Scandal

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- House Speaker John Boehner suggested on Wednesday that those who were responsible for the IRS targeting conservative groups should face jail time.

“Now my question isn’t about who is going to resign,” Boehner, R-Ohio, told reporters Wednesday. “My question is who’s going to jail over this scandal?”

Asked who he believes should go to jail, the speaker did not direct his demand to a specific individual but said that someone at the IRS “made a conscious decision to harass” conservatives while delaying their requests for tax-exempt status.

“There are laws in place to prevent this type of abuse,” he said. “We need to know who they are and whether they violated the law. There’s clearly someone who violated the law.”

The speaker went on to vent about controversies dealing with Benghazi and the Department of Justice as well.

Boehner seemed bewildered by the Department of Justice’s decision to secretly obtain phone records from the Associated Press, which he indicated violated the First Amendment protections for a free press.

“Let me tell you, I am very interested and I’m hopeful that we’re going to get a clear explanation for why such unprecedented action was taken,” Boehner said. “It befuddles me that there could be some justification that would allow them to infringe on the First Amendment to the Constitution.”

While the White House has shown some emails from the Benghazi investigation to certain members of Congress, the speaker said the administration “could make this a lot easier for all Americans” by permanently turning over copies of the documents to Congress.

Boehner brushed aside questions about whether the three burgeoning scandals play into the GOP’s favor in the 2014 congressional midterm elections, insisting his focus is “on the priorities of the American people” while executing Congress’s duty to provide oversight over the executive branch.

“The American people deserve the truth and fairness from their government,” Boehner said. ”I don’t want to prolong this anymore than anyone else. What I want is the truth.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Sunday
May122013

Sen. John McCain Asserts Benghazi ‘Cover-Up’

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., described the Obama administration’s handling of the Benghazi controversy as a “cover up,” following exclusive reporting by ABC News that showed the State Department was involved in editing the CIA’s Benghazi talking points used in the days after the attack on the American diplomatic compound in Libya last year.

“I’d call it a cover-up,” McCain said Sunday morning on ABC’s This Week. “I would call it a cover-up in the extent that there was willful removal of information which was obvious.”

McCain criticized White House spokesperson Jay Carney for his characterization of the edits to the talking points, which were eventually used by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice on five Sunday talks shows the weekend after the Benghazi attack.

“For the president’s spokesman to say, that, ‘Well, there was only words or technical changes made in those emails’ is a flat-out untruth,” McCain said. “That’s just not acceptable.”

Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., disputed McCain’s assertions, saying it was “absolutely not” a cover-up, and that the talking point revisions reflected efforts to form a “consensus document that avoided all of the difficult issues.”

“I think this was the classic issue of interagency’s battle about who will say what,” Reed said this morning on This Week.

McCain also singled out former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who he suggested would have been aware of the State Department’s emails requesting changes to the talking points.

“I think the secretary of state has played a role in this,” McCain said. “She had to have been in the loop some way, but we don’t know for sure.”

McCain said Clinton should return to Capitol Hill to testify again, calling for a Congressional select committee to further investigate the issue.

“We need a select committee that interviews everybody,” McCain said. “I don’t know what level of scandal, unquote, this rises to, but I know it rises to the level where it requires a full and complete ventilation of these facts… We’re still uncovering information which frankly contradicts the original line that the administration took.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May082013

Diplomat: Ambassador in Benghazi Said, 'We're Under Attack'

TR/AFP/GettyImages(WASHINGTON) -- Gregory Hicks, who became the top diplomat in Libya after Ambassador Christopher Stevens was killed during an attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012, told a congressional committee Wednesday that the attack left him scrambling for help that failed to arrive in time.

"Is anything coming?" Hicks said he asked a defense attache as he worked to coordinate a response from Tripoli, Libya, during the attack. "Will they be sending us any help? Is there something out there?"

During more than four hours of testimony, Hicks recounted for the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform the terrorist attack initially described by some in the Obama administration as a protest.

Hicks, believed to be the last person to speak with Stevens before he was killed, recalled his final phone conversation with the ambassador as news began to reach him in Tripoli, Libya, just shortly after the attack had begun in Benghazi.

"I got the ambassador on the other end, and he said, 'Greg, we're under attack,'" Hicks recalled, speaking slowly and purposely throughout his testimony. "It was also a bad cell phone night in Tripoli. Connections were weak. And I said, 'OK,' and the line cut."

Hicks said he believed Stevens would have shared any reports of a protest at the consulate, given a conversation he had with the ambassador about demonstrations in Cairo, Egypt, earlier in the day.
When U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice later publicly attributed the attack to a demonstration gone bad, Hicks said, he was "stunned."

"My jaw dropped, and I was embarrassed," Hicks said, noting that, even as the top-ranked diplomat in charge once Stevens was killed, he never spoke to Rice about what had transpired before she initially attributed the attack to a demonstration in multiple television appearances.

"The YouTube video was a non-event in Libya," Hicks said, denying there was ever a connection to unrest in Egypt. "Our assessment in the embassy was that video was not an instigator of anything."

Throughout the hearing, Hicks detailed his role coordinating with the U.S. and Libyan governments during the attack. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton phoned him directly at 2 a.m. asking for an update. Hicks also noted that Stevens' body was taken to a hospital controlled by Ansar al Sharia, a group with ties to Islamic terrorists.

While Hicks charged that fast-moving aircraft could have possibly scared off the attackers and prevented some of the American deaths, Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the committee, pointed to prior congressional testimony from Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who said it was not possible to scramble aircraft in time to make a difference.

"The fact is that our nation's top military commanders have already testified repeatedly that they did everything in their power to mobilize and deploy assets as soon as possible," Cummings, D-Md., said. "We have the best military in the world, but even with all of their technological advances, they could not get there in time."

The only U.S. aircraft over Libya that day was one unarmed drone, Hicks said.

"We continue to believe there was nothing this team could have done to assist during the second attack in Benghazi on Sept. 11," Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said Wednesday, reacting to Hicks' testimony. "The team remained in Tripoli and performed admirably. They supported the evacuation effort when the first aircraft arrived back to Tripoli. This team played a key role in receiving treating and moving the wounded."

David Lapan, a spokesman for the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, added that "it makes sense that these guys want to go to where the action is, but their higher headquarters also has a role with the big picture to understand that you going to Benghazi, at this point, is not going to be helpful."

Hicks also testified that he was instructed by State Department counsel not to allow himself or the acting deputy chief of mission to be personally interviewed by Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, an Oversight Committee member traveling to Libya on a congressional delegation to investigate the attack.

When Hicks provided Chaffetz with a classified briefing that excluded a lawyer from State who did not have high enough security clearance to attend, he was phoned by Cheryl Mills, chief of staff to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

"A phone call from that senior of a person is, generally speaking, not considered to be good news," Hicks said. "She was upset."

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., the chairman of the Oversight Committee, said the goal of the hearing was "to get answers because [the victims'] families deserve answers."

"They were promised answers at the highest level when their bodies came home," Issa said. "We want to make certain those promises are kept on behalf of those individuals. We also want to make certain that our government learns the proper lessons from this tragedy so it never happens again and so that the right people are held accountable."

Given that Wednesday was the first time Congress has heard from anyone who was on the ground in Libya during the attack, lawmakers pledged that the so-called whistleblowers would be protected from potential retaliation.

"I am glad the whistleblowers are here, and I will do everything single thing in my power to protect the whistleblowers," Cummings agreed. "Whistleblowers are important. They are very important."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jan112013

Republicans to Press Benghazi Issue With National Security Nominees

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Making clear they are not relenting in trying to hold the Obama administration accountable for the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, a trio of Republican senators said Friday they’ll continue to press the matter at nomination hearings for Obama’s national security nominees.

Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., released a list of questions they said are still “unanswered” about Benghazi, noting, “As the U.S. Senate considers President Obama’s key national security nominations in the coming weeks,” the questions must be addressed.

President Obama has had to replace key members of his outgoing national security team. The nominees, including John Brennan for CIA director and former Sen. Chuck Hagel for Department of Defense, all need to be confirmed by the Senate.

The senators have hinted that they won’t move the nominees through unless their questions about Benghazi are answered.

Graham has threatened to delay Brennan’s nomination until the senators are satisfied with the answers from the White House on Benghazi.

“My support for a delay in confirmation is not directed at Mr. Brennan, but is an unfortunate, yet necessary, action to get information from this administration,” Graham said in a statement. “I have tried – repeatedly – to get information on Benghazi, but my requests have been repeatedly ignored.”

The questions, as outlined by the senators, are as follows:

1. “Was the president made aware of the classified cable that, according to published media reports, Ambassador Chris Stevens sent on Aug.15, 2012, stating that the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi could not survive a sustained assault from one or more of the threatening militia groups that were operating in eastern Libya?

2. Was the secretary of state made aware of that cable and its contents?

3. Did the president’s national security staff make him aware of the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that occurred in April and June of last year and the assassination attempt on the British ambassador in Benghazi around the same time?

4. If so, what actions did the president and secretary of state take?

5. When was the president first informed about the attack on Sept. 11, 2012, and what actions did he take?

6. What were the president’s activities during the seven hours the attack went on?

7. What were the secretary of state’s activities during this time?

8. On the anniversary of the worst terrorist attack in American history, after multiple attacks this year on U.S. and Western interests in Libya, and with rising insecurity in countries across the Middle East, why were U.S. military units and assets in the region not ready, alert and positioned to respond in a timely fashion to what should have been a foreseeable emergency?

9. Why were the testimonies of the U.S. personnel who were evacuated from Benghazi on Sept. 12 – eyewitnesses who knew there never was a demonstration outside the consulate – not shared in a timely way with, and immediately factored in to the judgments of, our intelligence community?

10. Does this failure reflect obstacles that still exist to the free sharing of information across executive branch agencies, which was a key concern of the 9/11 commission?

11. Why has the administration refused to provide the full text of emails regarding the deletion of references to al Qaeda and terrorism in the talking points on which Ambassador Rice relied several days after the attack?

12. Considering that the president now labels the Benghazi attack as an act of terrorism, why has he designated the search for those responsible as a criminal investigation led by the FBI?

13. Has the FBI-led criminal investigation in any way impeded the ability of other government agencies to investigate and assist in identifying those responsible for the attack?

14. Why did the administration not do more to support and assist the new Libyan government that took power after the fall of Gadhafi as al Qaeda, affiliated groups and local militias established sanctuaries in the ungoverned spaces of eastern Libya – a development that directly implicates U.S. national security interests, and which is the real explanation why four Americans lost their lives in Benghazi?”


President Obama has called for a speedy confirmation hearing for his nominees.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan092013

Hillary Clinton Ready to Testify About Benghazi in Two Weeks

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- After weeks of speculation, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton fully intends to testify before Congress about the Sept. 11 U.S. consulate attack in Benghazi, Libya.

Clinton, who couldn't make the December hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee because of a concussion she suffered from a fall, is scheduled to speak with lawmakers on Jan. 22.

Sen. Bob Corker, who sits on the committee, told MSNBC on Tuesday that the outgoing secretary seems "anxious" to deliver testimony about the security failures that resulted in the deaths of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

The Tennessee Republican also suggested that following Clinton's appearance, it's possible that senators could quickly move to the confirmation hearings for Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, Clinton's presumed successor.

This could all take place the day after President Obama is sworn in for a second term.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Dec212012

State Department Deputies Grilled by GOP at Benghazi Hearing

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Surrogates for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton faced sharp questions from the House Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday about the Obama administration's initial statements about the Sept. 11 attack on the consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Clinton, who is recovering from a mild concussion she suffered from a fall, was represented by Deputy Secretaries of State Thomas Nides and William Burns, who were interrogated by GOP lawmakers about why protesters outside the mission were blamed when it was eventually concluded that terrorists were responsible for a pre-planned assault.

Florida Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who chairs the House panel, acknowledged she lacked "confidence in [the State Department’s] assessment in what went wrong and what actions are needed to prevent a repeat" despite an independent report released earlier that delivered a scathing indictment of the department's failures to prevent the siege that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

The lawmaker pressed Nides and Burns about why United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice was allowed to go on record five days after the attack to claim that it was the outgrowth of a demonstration against an anti-Islam video produced in the U.S.

Burns told the committee that Rice was reading from talking points given to her by the CIA, which she later disavowed.  He added that while the president and Clinton were certain terrorists were behind the consulate attack, it still hadn't become immediately clear who arranged the assault and how it happened.

He added, "It did take the intelligence community some days to determine what was inaccurate…I’m sure our colleagues in the intelligence community wish they could have cleared up those inaccuracies sooner."

However, Republicans weren't buying it as Ohio Congressman Steve Chabot alleged the White House's story was "ham-handed at best and a cover up at worst."

Democratic members of the committee seemed more outraged at their GOP colleagues than by the failures of the State Department.

Retiring New York Congressman Gary Ackerman told Nides and Burns, "I’d like to apologize to the deputy secretaries.  You have been brought here as a ruse.  You are being used…for partisan and political purposes."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec192012

Benghazi Report Finds 'Systematic Failure' by State Department

GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP/GettyImages(WASHINGTON) -- The State Department has released its independent, internal investigation into the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, concluding the attack was the result of the State Department's "systematic failure" in addressing the security needs of the consulate.

The 39-page unclassified report, released Monday, is highly critical of decisions made by senior officials from the Diplomatic Security and Near East Affairs bureaus as demonstrating "a lack of proactive leadership and management ability in their responses to security concerns posed by the Special Mission Benghazi, given the deteriorating threat environment and the lack of reliable host government protection."

The attacked killed Ambassador Chris Stevens, information specialist Sean Smith and former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, who were contractors working for the CIA.  Stevens' slaying was the first of a U.S. ambassador since 1988.

[ CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL REPORT ]

The investigation was conducted by the Accountability Review Board appointed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in late September.  The five members spent the last two months interviewing over 100 officials and pouring over thousands of documents and watching hours of video, before issuing conclusions and recommendations to Clinton about what happened before the attack and how another attack may be prevented.

The board concluded that several decisions in Washington left the security posture at the Benghazi consulate "grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place."  However, the report did not single out any individual officials, finding no "reasonable cause to determine that any individual U.S. government employee breached his or her duty."

The report makes the point that the State Department has been subject to so many budget cuts from Congress over the years that there is a culture of "conditioning a few State Department managers to favor restricting the use of resources as a general orientation," and gives several examples of how Washington failed the staff at the Benghazi consulate, essentially vindicating claims made by regional security officers that senior officials in Washington consistently turned down security requests from the Embassy in Tripoli.

"Overall, the number of Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) security staff in Benghazi on the day of the attack and in the months and weeks leading up to it was inadequate, despite repeated requests from Special Mission Benghazi and Embassy Tripoli for additional staffing," said the report.  "Board members found a pervasive realization among personnel who served in Benghazi that the Special Mission was not a high priority for Washington when it came to security-related requests, especially those relating to staffing."

Though the state department has repeatedly pointed to the local militia in Benghazi as being an integral part of the security plan at the consulate, in reality, the militia proved inadequate and ineffective, according to the report's findings.

While the report had harsh criticism for the bureaucrats in Washington, it had nothing but praise for security officials on the ground, whom it said "performed with courage and readiness to risk their lives to protect their colleagues, in a near impossible situation."

The report sheds new light on the death of Stevens as well.  U.S. officials still do not know who exactly transported him to a Benghazi hospital after finding him in the consulate after the smoke cleared, calling them "good Samaritans."  The investigation found that doctors tried for 45 minutes to revive the ambassador, who was likely dead from smoke inhalation when he arrived at the hospital.

The Accountability Review Board also disputed any claims that the Pentagon did not respond in a timely manner or turned down assistance requests.  An unmanned drone was dispatched to Benghazi on the night of the attack, but other military options were too far away to provide immediate help.

"The interagency response was timely and appropriate, but there simply was not enough time for armed U.S. military assets to have made a difference," said the report, which went on to praise the military response.  "The safe evacuation of all U.S. government personnel from Benghazi twelve hours after the initial attack and subsequently to Ramstein Air Force Base was the result of exceptional U.S. government coordination and military response and helped save the lives of two severely wounded Americans."

Despite the sharp criticism for the State Department, the board does make it clear that the gunmen who carried out the attack are ultimately responsible.

"The Board remains fully convinced that responsibility for the tragic loss of life, injuries, and damage to U.S. facilities and property rests solely and completely with the terrorists who perpetrated the attack," the report said.

But the report finds that there were warning signs; a sharp increase of attacks on Western interests in Benghazi -- a knowledge from the intelligence community that even if there was no actionable intelligence on a future attack, it was known that radical Islamic groups were operating in the area -- that required better planning and protection than what the consulate had.

Clinton, who is at home recovering from a stomach flu that caused her to faint and suffer a concussion, received the report Monday morning.  After reviewing it, she issued eight-page cover letters to the House Foreign Affairs and Senate Foreign Relations committees, where she said that she accepted the report's conclusions in their entirety.

"The Accountability Review Board report provides a clear-eyed look at serious, systemic challenges that we have already begun to fix," said Clinton.  "I am grateful for its recommendations for how we can reduce the chances of this kind of tragedy happening again. I accept every one of them."

She added that she has already established a task force that met for the first time on Tuesday, which will make sure that the board's findings are implemented "quickly and completely."

Clinton also addressed the issue of chain-and-command and bureaucracy problems between the field and Washington.  She announced she is naming the first-ever Deputy Assistant Secretary of State of High Threat Posts, a senior level position devoted solely to focusing on security at high risk posts.  

She also said that in the future, regional Assistant Secretaries based in Washington at the highest levels will have greater responsibility and accountability for their people and posts in the field.

 Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec172012

Hillary Clinton Recovering at Home, Reviewing Benghazi Report

Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is feeling a bit better following the concussion she suffered early last week, but will continue to rest this week, State Department officials said.

“She is on the mend,” said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland. “We thank all of you for your good wishes, and she’s obviously going to be fine. But … she’s going to be working at home this week.”

A U.S. official tells ABC News that Clinton is feeling more “like herself” and would like to go back to work, but doctors have advised it may take several weeks and want the secretary to rest.  That is standard for concussion treatment.

Clinton originally fell ill from a stomach virus following a whirlwind trip to Europe at the beginning of the month, which caused such severe dehydration that she fainted and fell at home, said the State Department. According to the official, the secretary had two teams of doctors, including specialists, examine her.  They also ran tests to rule out more serious ailments beyond the virus and the concussion. During the course of the week, Clinton was on an IV drip and being monitored by a nurse, while also recovering from the pain caused by the fall.

Nuland said the decision to cancel Clinton’s schedule this week was made on Saturday morning after consulting with her doctors.

The secretary was set for a full week of events and work commitments, including testifying before the House Foreign Affairs and Senate Foreign Relations committees on Thursday, following the release of the State Department’s internal investigation on the consulate attack in Benghazi, Libya in September.  Deputy Secretaries of State Bill Burns and Tom Nides will testify in her place.

The investigation, conducted by an appointed Accountability Review Board, was ordered by Clinton in October. Nuland told reporters Monday that the board has completed its work. She said Secretary Clinton received the report on Monday and is reviewing it at home.

Congressional committee members will receive the full, classified report before being briefed on Wednesday by the board’s chair, Ambassador Thomas Pickering, and member Admiral Mike Mullen in a closed session.

House Foreign Affairs chair Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., said in a statement on Saturday that while the committee accepts Burns and Nides’ presence at the hearing,  she expects there will be questions surrounding the attack that will at some point require "a public appearance by the Secretary of State herself. ”

Secretary Clinton has sent letters to the chairs of both committees making it clear that she is open to further meetings after the holidays, when Congress is back in session and she is feeling better, said Nuland.

“She was ready to testify, she very much wanted to, she was preparing to, and except for this illness, she would have been up there herself.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov292012

Senate Homeland Committee Receives Four Hour Briefing on Benghazi

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Chair of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., said Thursday their starting to “fill in some of the blanks” about the attack at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi after a closed door briefing, but said the investigation as to what happened during the attack still goes on.
 
“The Department of Defense did not have personnel or assets close enough to the scene in Benghazi to bring them to the scene of the attack in a timely way so that they could protect American personnel there, particularly, particularly the two SEALs who were killed about 7 hours after the attack started,” he said.
 
Members of the Senate Homeland Security Committee Thursday received a four hour closed-door briefing from representatives from the Department of Defense, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency/National Counterterrorism Center and the State Department, one of many briefings they’ve requested to investigate the attack.
 
Lieberman said the committee is still searching for answers and they hope to issue a report before the end of the year with final conclusions. “We know a lot more than we knew when the investigation started, but our investigation will continue in a very intense, sort of urgent way 'cause we want to get it done before the end of this congress and when we think we’ve got as many facts as we can possibly get, we’ll reach our conclusion and we’ll issue a report.”
 
Ranking member, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, echoed Lieberman’s concerns about the military, citing an Inspector General study conducted in 2009 by the State Department, which recommended greater security in areas afflicted by frequent incidence of political violence.
 
“While there were physical improvements in security made in Benghazi, those specific recommendations for man traps were not built into the security in Benghazi,” Collins said. “We can’t be certain that they would have protected the compound completely, but they certainly would have slowed the ability of the compound to be overrun.”
 
Lieberman said it’s really “disconcerting” and “upsetting” to see how easily the terrorists broke through the gates and basically just walked in and set the facility on fire and began to fire at American personnel.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov212012

UN Ambassador Susan Rice Defends Herself on Benghazi

TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images(UNITED NATIONS) -- At a press briefing at the United Nations Wednesday, Ambassador Susan Rice gave a spirited defense of her actions following the Benghazi consulate attack, telling reporters that her talking points in interviews on the Sunday political shows following the attack were based solely on the information the intelligence community provided to her.
 
“As a senior U.S. diplomat, I agreed to a White House request to appear on the Sunday shows to talk about the full range of national security issues of the day, which at that time were primarily and particularly the protests that were enveloping and threatening many diplomatic facilities—American diplomatic facilities—around the world and Iran’s nuclear program. The attack on Benghazi—on our facilities in Benghazi—was obviously a significant piece of this,” said Rice.
 
“When discussing the attacks against our facilities in Benghazi, I relied solely and squarely on the information provided to me by the intelligence community. I made clear that the information was preliminary and that our investigations would give us the definitive answers,” she said.  “Everyone, particularly the intelligence community, has worked in good faith to provide the best assessment based on the information available.”
 
Rice said the on-going FBI investigation and the State Department’s internal investigation will become “the definitive accounting of what occurred.”
 
She talked about her personal feelings towards Ambassador Chris Stevens, a man she said she had the privilege of working closely with following the fall of Gadhafi.  

“He was a valued colleague, and his loss and that of his three colleagues is a massive tragedy for all of us who serve in the U.S. government and for all the American people,” said Rice. “None of us will rest, none of us will be satisfied until we have the answers and the terrorists responsible for this attack are brought to justice.”
 
Her words for Senator John McCain were not so warm, calling his attacks against her “unwarranted.”
 
“Let me be very clear. I have great respect for Senator McCain and his service to our country. I always have, and I always will,” said Rice. “I do think that some of the statements he’s made about me have been unfounded, but I look forward to having the opportunity at the appropriate time to discuss all of this with him.”
 
Rice’s comments came from questions following her prepared remarks about the Israel-Hamas cease-fire, where she said the United States welcomed the announcement.

“We are deeply grateful to those who showed such leadership and determination to bring it about,” she said. “In the days ahead, the United States will work with partners across the region to consolidate the progress made today, to improve conditions for the people of Gaza through the urgent provision of humanitarian assistance, and to provide lasting security for Israelis and Palestinians.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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