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The dominant narrative in the Ambassador Rice/Benghazi assault narrative goes something like this:

Ambassador Rice was only following established, CIA-approved talking points when she said the attack on the embassy was a spontaneous response to the anti-Islam video.  She was wrong, but that shouldn't be held against her because she was just adhering to the script put in front of her.

Liberals are saying this.  Our favorite journalists and pundits are saying it too.  It has become the established narrative, even though all you have to do is go to the source to see it is just not true.

Ambassador Rice never said the assault was spontaneous, or unplanned, or unrelated to 9/11, or not an act of terrorism.  She just didn't say that.

I'll put her quotes below the fold but what she said on the Sunday morning shows was:  a spontaneous protest against the videos was hijacked by heavily armed extremists who then attacked the consulate.  When Bob Schieffer asked if the attack was pre-planned, or if al Qaeda was involved (as Libya's President claimed earlier on his show), she said that has yet to be decided.  The facts weren't all in.

Why is this important?  Because the Republicans and others who are determined to politicize the deaths of four Americans will get off scott free if not only the "liberal" mainstream media, but also the progressive community buy into this false narrative.  Should Susan Rice be our next Secretary of State?  I don't know.  But she should not be brought down by this ridiculous story.

Here's what she said on ABC This Week:

RICE: Well, Jake, first of all, it's important to know that there's an FBI investigation that has begun and will take some time to be completed. That will tell us with certainty what transpired.

But our current best assessment, based on the information that we have at present, is that, in fact, what this began as, it was a spontaneous -- not a premeditated -- response to what had transpired in Cairo. In Cairo, as you know, a few hours earlier, there was a violent protest that was undertaken in reaction to this very offensive video that was disseminated.

 We believe that folks in Benghazi, a small number of people came to the embassy to -- or to the consulate, rather, to replicate the sort of challenge that was posed in Cairo. And then as that unfolded, it seems to have been hijacked, let us say, by some individual clusters of extremists who came with heavier weapons, weapons that as you know in -- in the wake of the revolution in Libya are -- are quite common and accessible. And it then evolved from there.

We'll wait to see exactly what the investigation finally confirms, but that's the best information we have at present.

And here she is on Face the Nation:
But soon after that spontaneous protest began outside of our consulate in Benghazi, we believe that it looks like extremist elements, individuals, joined in that-- in that effort with heavy weapons of the sort that are, unfortunately, readily now available in Libya post-revolution. And that it spun from there into something much, much more violent.

BOB SCHIEFFER: But you do not agree with him that this was something that had been plotted out several months ago?

SUSAN RICE: We do not-- we do not have information at present that leads us to conclude that this was premeditated or preplanned.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Do you agree or disagree with him that al Qaeda had some part in this?

SUSAN RICE: Well, we'll have to find out that out. I mean I think it's clear that there were extremist elements that joined in and escalated the violence. Whether they were al Qaeda affiliates, whether they were Libyan-based extremists or al Qaeda itself I think is one of the things we'll have to determine.

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Comment Preferences

  •  sorry but the narrative is not helpful (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annecros

    Maybe it is the tone that cannot be read in a transcript but I think there was a mistake and the question is was this a misstatement or a deliberate CIA "established talking point".

  •  Thank you for this. (0+ / 0-)

    I have actually NOT seen the interviews in question.  Knowing a bit more of what she said is very helpful to me.  But we can't forget that the story of her detractors keeps morphing as we go along as well.  The CURRENT story from the 3 stooges is that Ambassador Rice KNEW or should have known who the perpetrators were and was lying by being vague (at worst) or plain incompetent by being wrong (at best).  Of course they are full of it, but that's where they are at.  Either way, a shameful performance by this cast of clowns.

  •  This GOP attack on Susan Rice (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sue B, jrooth, WattleBreakfast

    has absolutely nothing to do with their concerns about her fitness for the Secretary of State cabinet position.  It has everything to do with politics, and McCain, Ayotte, and Graham have nothing else in mind.  Shame on these 3 Republican losers.

    -4.75, -5.33 Cheney 10/05/04: "I have not suggested there is a connection between Iraq and 9/11."

    by sunbro on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 12:39:52 PM PST

  •  McCain And Graham Had Fee-Fees Hurt (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jrooth, FiredUpInCA, WattleBreakfast

    with the Rice sharp criticisms of their Iraq dog and pony shows during the 2008 campaign. They want payback even if the issue doesn't resonate beyond FOX news viewers. Highlight of the campaign was Obama clarifying that he used the phrase acts of terror the day after the attacks during the second debate. Even dumbass Romney realized the debate was closed at that point. The American people do not give a shit about the semantics of what Susan Rice said on a Sunday talk show. This rivals Whitewater as a phony scandal being drummed up by the GOP. The American people let McCain know what they thought of him in 2008. Think one of the reasons they feel so bold in attacking Rice is that they are now two amigos and and an amiga. Not unlike McCain to think a woman by his side will help him politically. All Democrats should feel a special obligation to give these McCain, Graham and crew the ass kicking they apparently are asking for.

  •  Well ... sort of ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FiredUpInCA

    As I understand it, the current thinking is that there was no protest of the video preceding the attack on the Benghazi mission.  So the part where she said it began as that and then extremists joined in or hijacked it etc. was apparently in error.

    But you're right that she was clear throughout that the extremists who attacked were not merely part of a spontaneous protest, and also that this assessment might change as we gathered more information.

    “What’s the use of having developed a science well enough to make predictions if, in the end, all we’re willing to do is stand around and wait for them to come true?” - Sherwood Rowland

    by jrooth on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 12:56:53 PM PST

  •  Yes, the goalposts do keep moving (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WattleBreakfast

    The original complaint was that Rice said the assault was spontaneous and she blamed it on the video.  That was never true--she never said that.

    Now, I've heard some say that there was never a spontaneous protest at all.  To which I say, so what?  She never claimed that protesters just "spontaneously" decided to attack the consulate. She said the attackers were heavily armed extremists.  So whether there was an existing protest that was hi-jacked, as she surmised, or an organized assault from the beginning is of no moment.  What difference would it make?

    It just demonstrates the emptiness of the accusations.

  •  Bu here are my questions (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annecros

    She was right after two weeks of being wrong as I see it.

    There are still some rather puzzling changes in official statements.

    CBS News says Rice had access to the intel talking points AND the original assessment which referred to the attack as an act of terror linked to al-Qaeda. However she made no mention of terrorism or al-Qaeda when she on those shows?

    The administration knew all this when she went on the talk shows  So why did she say that?  

    Rice says the assessment “evolved.” and I'm she is correct
    but why and by whom? Petraeus said on Nov.16 that the intelligence community knew immediately that it was a terrorist attack. The evolution from the the attack was al-Qaeda-related terrorism to the notion that it was a protest caused by a video was created by someone somewhere. who? I find the answer that someone (unnamed) in the Intel apparatus changed that to trick the terrorists extremely dubious.

    As troubling, during the 2nd debate, President Obama said he called it terrorism the very next day. If he had enough information to know the attack wasn’t the result of a protest or demonstration why did Rice say it was protest four days later?

    SoS Clinton also conveyed the same story (video protest) to Ty Woods’s father, and the President did - even though they (evidently) already knew the real situation.

    I find all these months long changes troubling and indicative of a less than competent intel operation who can't seem to get their stories straight. perhaps she is being loyal- but at the harm of her own reputation.

    •  You missed the point (0+ / 0-)
      As troubling, during the 2nd debate, President Obama said he called it terrorism the very next day. If he had enough information to know the attack wasn’t the result of a protest or demonstration why did Rice say it was protest four days later?
      She didn't say the attack was the result of a protest or demonstration.  She said that heavily armed militant extremists hi-jacked an existing demonstration.  It may be that there was no demonstration.  It may be that the heavily armed militant extremists faked a demonstration as cover.  It doesn't matter.  She never said the attack was spontaneous, or the result of a protest.  And she clearly allowed that the perpetrators might be terrorists, they might be related to al Qaeda, but she withheld judgment--which seems entirely appropriate at the time--and even now.

      The point is not that she innocently passed on incorrect information.  It is that she innocently reported correct information--the attacks were not spontaneous and were carried out with deliberation by heavily-armed militant extremists.  It is absurd to claim a "cover up" because she didn't say the word "terrorist."

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