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Only three weeks ago, American voters solidly backhanded the Republican Party.  It's already clear that the Republicans aren't chastened by President Obama's  51% to 47% reelection victory, or the Democratic Party gains in the House and Senate.  For the Democrats, it's good news if the GOP can find no reason to correct what isn't working for it, and it's bad news, too.  

Being wrong about everything is the only thing that Republicans are getting right.  As a minor example, take the words that fell out of Senator Lindsey Graham’s mouth today.
 

Here’s what I can tell you: The American people got bad information on 16th September. They got bad information from President Obama days after. And the question is should they have been giving the information at all? If you can do nothing but give bad information, isn’t it better to give no information at all.  So my belief is not only is the information bad – and I’m more convinced than ever that it was bad – it was unjustified to give the scenario as presented by Ambassador Rice and President Obama three weeks before an election.
Sheesh Graham! Can’t you get anything right?  Ambassador Susan Rice’s appearance on the Sunday morning talk shows last September 16th was seven weeks before the election, not three weeks.  You criticized the accuracy of what she said and you can't even get your own story straight. Why did you change the length of time between her interviews and the election from seven weeks to three weeks, anyway?  What was your agenda?

This is what happens when you decide to parse the words of your political opponents.  Someone may decide to return the favor.  What did Ambassador Rice say, anyway, that would make anyone imagine the Obama administration handled the Benghazi incident incorrectly?  

Nothing!

Outrage junkies in the Republican party may be too high on the Spinghazi nontroversy to see that they’ve headed down a blind alley.  They’ve been wrong before and they’ll be wrong again.

Out of Ambassador Rice's appearances on September 16,  I chose the transcript from "Face the Nation" because Libyan President Mohamed Magariaf and Graham’s partner in outrage, Sen. John McCain, also appeared on the show that day.  The transcript is below.  

In considering what Ambassador Rice said and what she should have said, what she knew and what she should have known, the Benghazi attack could be compared to an attack on the US Consulate in Karachi, Pakistan on March 2, 2006.  After that attack which killed David Foy, a member of the US diplomatic corps, it took almost a year for an investigation to determine that Al Qaeda was involved.  The Karachi consulate had been attacked in 2002, 2003 and 2004, too, but there was no outrage about the lack of security or precautionary measures there in 2006 when Foy was killed.

Here's an excerpt from the New York Times:
KARACHI, Pakistan, Feb. 22 — The suicide bombing that killed an American diplomat here last March, just before a visit by President Bush, was organized by a small cell of Pakistani militants and masterminded by an operative of Al Qaeda based in the Pakistan’s tribal areas, Pakistan says.  The charge is being made by Pakistani officials as they present evidence — the result of months of investigations by the police, assisted by F.B.I. investigators — at the trial of two men accused in the plot.

The aftermath of a suicide car bombing in Karachi, Pakistan, that killed a United States diplomat on March 2, 2006

Before Bob Schieffer interviewed Ambassador Rice, he spoke briefly with Libya's President Mohamed Yousef El-Magariaf.  The noteworthy comment from Magariaf was:

The way these perpetrators acted and moved, I think we-- and they're choosing the specific date for this so-called demonstration, I think we have no-- this leaves us with no doubt that this was preplanned, determined-- predetermined.
Immediately after Schieffer finished with Magariaf, he spoke with Ambassador Rice.
(I selected the phrases from the interview that are highlighted with bold font.)
BOB SCHIEFFER: And joining us now, Susan Rice, our U.N. Ambassador.  Madam Ambassador, he says this is something that has been in the planning stages for months.  I understand you have been saying that you think it was spontaneous? Are we not on the same page here?

SUSAN RICE: Bob, let me tell you what we understand to be the assessment at present.  First of all, very importantly, as you discussed with the President [Magariaf], there is an investigation that the United States government will launch led by the FBI, that has begun and they  are not on the ground yet, but they have already begun looking at all sorts of evidence of various sorts already available to them and to us.  And they will get on the ground and continue the investigation.  So we'll want to see the results of that investigation to draw any definitive conclusions.

But based on the best information we have to date, what our assessment is as of the present is in fact what began spontaneously in Benghazi as a reaction to what had transpired some hours earlier in Cairo where, of course, as you know, there was a violent protest outside of our embassy sparked by this hateful video.  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  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 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.

BOB SCHIEFFER: There seems to be demonstrations in more than twenty cities as far as we know yesterday.  Is there any sense that this is leveling off?

SUSAN RICE: Well, on Friday, of course, I think that's what you're referring to  there were a number of places around the world in which there were protests, many of them peaceful, some of them turned violent.  And our emphasis has been, and the President has been very, very clear about this, priority number one is protection of American personnel and facilities.  And we have been working now very constructively with host governments around the world to provide the kind of protection we need and to condemn the violence.  What happens going forward I think it would be unwise for any of us to predict with certainty.  Clearly the last couple of days have seen a reduction in protests and a reduction in violence.  I don't want to predict what the next days will yield.

BOB SCHIEFFER: The Romney campaign continues to criticize the administration.  Paul Ryan was on the campaign trail yesterday saying that the Obama administration has diminished America's presence overseas and our image, a direct quote, "If we project weakness, they come.  If we are strong, our adversaries will not test us and our allies will respond to us. " What's your response to that?

SUSAN RICE: It's two-fold.  First of all, Bob, I think the American people expect in times of challenge overseas for our leaders to be unified and to come together and to be steadfast and steady and calm and responsible and that’s certainly what President Obama has been.  With respect to what I think is a very empty and baseless charge of weakness, let's be plain.   I think American people know the record very well.  President Obama said when he was running for President that he would refocus our efforts and attentions on al Qaeda.  We've decimated al Qaeda.  Osama bin Laden is gone.  He also said we would end the war in Iraq responsibly.  We've done that.  He has protected civilians in Libya, and Qaddafi is gone.  

I serve up at the United Nations and I see every day the difference in how countries around the world view the United States.  They view us as a partner.  They view us as somebody they want to work with.  They view President Obama as somebody they trust.  Our standing in the world is much stronger so this charge of weakness is really quite baseless.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Do you think Mitt Romney spoke inappropriately when he criticized and issued a statement so early in this turmoil?

SUSAN RICE: Bob, I think you know, in my role, I'm not going to jump into politics and make those judgments.  That's for the American people to decide.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Madam Ambassador, thank you for being with us.

SUSAN RICE: Thank you very much.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (9+ / 0-)

    "Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves." - Abraham Lincoln

    by leftreborn on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 05:36:27 PM PST

  •  They stink. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Karl Rover, exterris, Loose Fur, Cordyc

    It may be that one reason they're so upset is that this event makes them look stupid for pushing the President to start handing out boatloads of weapons in Syria:

     

    joined in that  effort with heavy weapons of the sort that are, unfortunately, readily now available in Libya post-revolution.
    I think there's a lot more to it than that, but I'll wait for answers.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 05:44:35 PM PST

    •  I didn't read that much into her words. (0+ / 0-)

      To me it seems she was only referring to arms that remain from the conflict to overthrow Qaddafi.  Some rebel groups that fought against the old regime were based in and around Benghazi.  

      "Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves." - Abraham Lincoln

      by leftreborn on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 05:57:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm sure she meant it on face value, but she's in (0+ / 0-)

        the middle of this whole debate about what to do with Syria, and, of course McCain's been pushing to "just arm the rebels", etc.
        It's hard for her to answer the questions straight up in good faith without insulting McCain because he's so demonstrably stupid in his comments.
        There is also a connection between Syria and Libya, and apparently a pipeline of fighters and arms.
        I don't think it's a big deal, maybe a portion of the subtext.

        Rachel Maddow and L. O'Donnell were suggesting that maybe the MA Senate seat held by Kerry was the reason that the gop Sens. were acting weird on this.
        I have my own ideas.

        I personally hope the Pres. nominates Rice, however, a nice fuck you to the gop would be for him to nominate Bill Clinton to SOS and Chuck Hagel to SOD.

        You can't make this stuff up.

        by David54 on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 08:42:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  she said what anyone would have said.. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    leftreborn, exterris, petesmom

    it was the usual "what and see, I'm not giving anything away" script. She's no amateur.

    What does McCrank think- she should have jumped up and down screaming Terra! Al-quiiida!

    This Rover crossed over.. Willie Nelson, written by Dorothy Fields

    by Karl Rover on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 06:03:54 PM PST

  •  except there many counter arguments (0+ / 0-)

    and stories to sift through.

    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. Why?

    The administration knew all this (terrorists as opposed to a protest) when she went on the talk shows  So why did she say that?  

    Petraeus said on Nov.16 that the intelligence community knew immediately that it was a terrorist attack.

    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.

    •  she did mention al-Qaeda (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      leftreborn, Aviate, petesmom
      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.
      I haven't seen anything about the intel that makes me think that was a crazy or outrageous thing to say.

      Election protection: there's an app for that! -- and a toll-free hotline: 866-OUR-VOTE
      Better Know Your Voting System with the Verifier!

      by HudsonValleyMark on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 07:01:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Petraeus: intent was to avoid tipping off groups (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ironic Chef, Aviate, petesmom

      In the November 16 hearing, Petraeus the administration knew right away that terroristst were involved and refrained from naming any perpetraters as Al Qaeda affiliates or Ansar Al-Shariah to avoid alerting them that American intelligence and law enforcement agencies were tracking them.  

      This should be common sense to any average American who ever watched a crime drama.  When the perpetrators are still on the loose, the investigative authorities don't publicize the identity of a suspects to give them a heads up.  Members of Congress serving on the Oversight Committee, Intelligence Committee, the Committees related to Security and Foreign Affairs should be very familiar with this concept.  But they carelessly gave away information that may have jeopardized our agents and/or compromised the investigation.  

      Petraeus also said in the hearing that the word "extremists" was substituted rather than naming any specific groups and that's the word that Ambassador Rice used.

      You still want to parse words.  Is there ever a situation in North Africa or the Middle East, and elsewhere in places where we know a hostile element exists, when an unidentified group attacks or bombs a US diplomatic mission and it isn't terrorism?  And if it isn't, what is it?  And isn't terrorism itself, a form of protest?  

      Ambassador Rice didn't say it was a protest in contradiction to the President's statement in the Rose Garden on September 12.  She said:

      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  effort with heavy weapons
      Ambassador Rice also said that the FBI wasn't even in Libya yet on September 16.  The investigation was far from over. It was premature to make a definitive statement.  Yet there were people demanding answers who should know better.  What was their intent?  

      "Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves." - Abraham Lincoln

      by leftreborn on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 07:43:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  But there was (0+ / 0-)

        no "spontaneous protest" to start with. And that was known.

        None of this makes any sense.

        •  Your unsubstantiated opinions aren't a substitute (0+ / 0-)

          for facts.  

          I don't mind an honest argument with people who have differing opinions if they use factual information, reason, and logic to support what they believe.  I don't waste my time debating with people who bring their own fabricated reality built to specification for an agenda.

          You're suggesting that in the few days after the attack, all of the pertinent information had been gathered and analyzed, and that a final determination was reached.  Sorry, but I can't take you seriously.  

          "Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves." - Abraham Lincoln

          by leftreborn on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 08:09:27 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  No I am not (0+ / 0-)

            I am stating as a fact y the way, that the motive and links of the attack were known by the CIA immediately. That is not is dispute.

            Why the stories changed, by several people, over several days, and why the ambassador's story was false after 5 days is a question worth answering. This not an opinion.

    •  You seem to be lost (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      leftreborn

      Red State is over that way, next to FOX Nation------->

      Your debunked GOP talking points are no good here.

      "However she made no mention of terrorism or al-Qaeda when she on those shows. Why?"

      - Ummm. Maybe because the intelligence community told her to, so as to not compromise their information gathering? I mean, why believe what Gen. Petraeus testified when you can spin up nice, nifty conspiracy theories out of whole cloth?

      - Ummm. Maybe because, as a rule, administration officials don't go around announcing CLASSIFIED information on Sunday talk shows? That would defeat the whole purpose of classifying information, after all now, wouldn't it?

      •  two things (0+ / 0-)

        #1 piss off about the whole fox and red state crap.

        #2 Why did the president say it was terrorism the very next day and yet she didn't couldn't? then?

        Oh and another thing: piss off.

        •  In what way would the meaning of her statements (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          leftreborn

          have been different if she used the word "terrorist" or "terrorism"? She said it appeared that a demonstration in reaction to what happened in Cairo (this is what they were being told by local sources in Libya at the time) was taken over by "extremists" with heavy weapons.  Can you explain to me how her statements would be materially changed if she had said "terrorists" with heavy weapons?  

          For that matter, I don't really understand why you see such a disturbing difference between a spontaneous demonstration that was quickly overtaken by "extremists", "terrorists" or whatever attacking the consulate, and a straight-up attack.  In what way is the former better for the administration than the latter?  In other words, in what way is this a cover-up, and for what purpose would the administration be covering up?  For that matter what, exactly, do you think they are covering up?

          As Amb. Rice said,

          there is an investigation that the United States government will launch led by the FBI, that has begun and they  are not on the ground yet, but they have already begun looking at all sorts of evidence of various sorts already available to them and to us.  And they will get on the ground and continue the investigation.  So we'll want to see the results of that investigation to draw any definitive conclusions.
          So one would expect the language used to be very hedged, no?  I would have been shocked and appalled if she had gone on the Sunday shows and speculated about who had done what and why, especially if she had revealed classified information in the process.  Can you explain why you disagree?

          The past 50 years we: -Ended Jim Crow. -Enacted the Voting Rights Act. -Attained reproductive rights (contraceptive & abortion). -Moved toward pay equity. Republicans want to take our country back. I WON'T GO BACK!

          by petesmom on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 06:57:24 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  He lost me a little higher on the page when (0+ / 0-)

            he said

            "there was no "spontaneous protest" to start with. And that was known.
            Kos has a few individuals here and there trying to peddle rightwing talking points.  

            I wanted to amplify one of your points.  Prior to Benghazi, there was a brief outburst of Republican rage related to the leaking of national security information.  The same people pretend to know what intelligence Obama's administration had about Benghazi and they forgot all about their prior concern that too much information was released to the public.

            Republicans are being deliberately obtuse.  They know well that an ongoing investigation involving terrorists isn't something to argue about in the open.  It's also hard to think of any historical examples involving an attack by an external enemy that resulted in a partisan dispute here.
            Coming from the people who claim patriotism, it's unforgivable.  

            "Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves." - Abraham Lincoln

            by leftreborn on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 09:17:42 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  My point stands (0+ / 0-)

              however much you don't care for it.

              And that has nothing with peddling talking points. Try an experiment. Pretend this was a Bush or McCain administration.

              Would you still be so accepting of such shifting and convoluted explanations? Bo you would not.

              I agree 100% about gop obtuseness, but that is not what this is about.

              •  Here - I found some words you wrote yourself (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                petesmom

                a while back in response to another diary, "Was the Texas A&M Shooter a Tea Partier?"    Your comment was HR'd by several other readers.

                every single time a tragedy like this happens idiots like you jump right in with a political agenda. If that isn't bad enough you have zero facts. You simply cannot wait for a the facts to emerge? Just wait until we actually KNOW something? I'm all for free discourse but dang, sometimes I think people who do this should have to be in timeout for a few weeks.
                For a homicide here in the states you play the voice of reason and ask others to "wait for the facts to emerge."  When Americans are killed in a chaotic attack 5,000 miles away, you demand a final answer in three days.  Here, eat these words of yours, with a generous side of irony.  It should be delicious.

                "Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves." - Abraham Lincoln

                by leftreborn on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 11:42:07 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Have I accused anyone of anything? (0+ / 0-)

                  No. I have not. I have merely stated that it is reasonable for people to ask why spokeswoman representing the Government which had real time intel and 5 days(not three) of information flow to have a better explanation than one that is inconsistent with the facts. And contradicts itself over a period of weeks.  

                  Now, eat that. It's a lame apples and rocks comparison.

                  An apt analogy would be if the A&M law enforcement knew  what the motives were but told another story they knew was incorrect and had different explanations over a period of weeks as to who knew what when.

              •  You respond to leftreborn but not me? (0+ / 0-)

                I asked you specific questions. Why do you ignore them, but not leftreborn's response to them?  Why can't you respond to my questions? Not that you responded to leftreborn in a meaningful way - you just stated that your point (which point?) stands.

                Do you have a problem engaging intellectually with women, or are you in a private dance with leftreborn?

                The past 50 years we: -Ended Jim Crow. -Enacted the Voting Rights Act. -Attained reproductive rights (contraceptive & abortion). -Moved toward pay equity. Republicans want to take our country back. I WON'T GO BACK!

                by petesmom on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 08:00:06 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I thought I had (0+ / 0-)

                  but there was much back and forth lately. But please do not condescend to me.

                  I stated my point is factual, therefore it does stand. Leftreborn doesn't see to be able to deal wit that.

                  As for your questions.

                  you state:

                  "She said it appeared that a demonstration in reaction to what happened in Cairo "

                  She had to have known that was inaccurate. There was no protest and the CIA knew it immediately. They said so. The President even said said so (although he later also changed his tunes, and then changed it back again). She was privy to that assessment AND the revised statements.Why would the administration

                  Defining the attack with vagaries rather than Al quada certainly SOUNDs better - right before an election. But worse,  the shifting, inconsistent and even contradictory explanations give the conspiracists on the right ammo. As I said elsewhere this smacks of incompetence of the intel community and not holding people accountable.

          •  dude (0+ / 0-)

            my point is this there are like what? 5 official stories on this so far?

            When she said it was apparently a protest she had to have known it wasn't. When that question was pursued, the CIA said they knew right away it was terrorists with al quaeda ties. She needn't have speculated with the info she had five days later. They blamed the FBI for removing that info. Then the FBI said no it wan't us. Now we are told that someone somewhere although no one says exactly who or where took out the terrorist link days later- even after the President himself called it terrorism.

            Can you make sense of that?

            As for why this matters, a bumbling intelligence operations and lack of Administration knowledge would look worse before and election than after. Mainly because the gop CAN harp on this conspiracy line. A few straight answers would clear things up immeasurably. I am skeptical of politicians by nature and experience- even the ones I vote for.

  •  McCain & Lindsey Graham Met W/ Gadafhi in 2009.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    leftreborn

    to discuss the US providing arms to him.  Why don't we have a SPECIAL committee on that?

    They're trying to get John Kerry's Massachusetts seat for their little buddy Scott Brown.  If they can back the President down from nominating Susan Rice as SOS, the nom will probably go to Kerry.

    They think Scott Brown can slip back into the senate again if he wins a special election for Kerry's seat.  

    That....plus McCain stinking up the President's second term.  McCain is a bitter old man who needs a new gig.  His ranking as top dog on the Senate Intelligence Committee expires in January.

    He needs something to do.  He's trying to become relevant again.   And he still hasn't gotten over being beaten badly by Barack Obama in 2008.

    He never will.    

  •  How to classify GOP hypocrisy? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    leftreborn, petesmom

    It's about time someone pushed back against the new, bogus GOP meme that somehow, Dr. Rice is guilty of something because she had access to classified information that was not entirely consistent with the talking points she was given.

    As I recall, the GOP spent much of the campaign attacking Obama, with no real evidence (shocking, I know), for "leaking" classified information about the Bin Laden raid to make himself look good. Remember when Santorum said that we shouldn't have even announced that we had gotten Bin Laden?

    So leaking classified is bad, even when it's not being done. Except sometimes you are apparently supposed to go on the Sunday news shows and reveal classified information even when the intelligence community has told you not to do so and there is a real danger that releasing such information could hinder efforts to find those who killed a US ambassador.

    Got that?

    It's the same logic that says that misstatements made in the midst of a fluid situation when information is still partial and uncertain is a horrible, horrible scandal. But deliberately misleading the public for years about an administration's failure to heed warnings of an imminent terrorist attack on US soil, and helping to lie the country into a ruinous war based on flimsy, cherry-picked intelligence--well that's ok.

    Of course, all of this is coming from a party whose members had no problem blowing the cover of a covert CIA agent to score cheap political points, so I guess we shouldn't be surprised.

  •  so how many times (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    leftreborn

    Did the Bush administration, Condi et al..tell the world they had evidence of Iraq WMD's?EVIDENCE..and they were wrong.  One agent in the intelligence community who believed otherwise was  illegally "outed".

    Susan Rice's replies were a mix of "knowns" i.e. terrorists..and "unknowns" specifically who and why.  "at present" is an indicator that there could be more info on the way. Is there room for better intelligence/communications link? Absolutely.

    We lost American lives-it was a tragedy..and requires full review..as has been promised.

    McCain's "pitchfork and rage" brigade is great for media ..in their attempt to "taint" Rice's reputation.

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