Why the Latest GOP Attack on Susan Rice Is Bogus
On Wednesday, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) opened up a new front in the GOP war on Susan Rice. After Collins met with Rice, the US ambassador to the United Nations who may be President Barack Obama’s pick to replace Hillary Clinton at the State Department, the senator echoed the complaints her colleagues John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Kelly Ayotte have hurled at Rice regarding her recitation on Sunday talk shows of administration talking points about the September 11 attacks on US facilities in Benghazi, Libya. Collins—who has now essentially endorsed the GOP’s oddly targeted crusade against Rice—went further and raised a new (but old) matter, questioning whether Rice was somehow partially responsible for security failures that led to hundreds of casualties in the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania when she was assistant secretary of state for African affairs. Yet State Department reports undermine Collins’ expanded line of attack.
Up to now, McCain and his crew have concentrated their fire on one aspect of the Benghazi affair: Rice’s use of CIA talking points that described the terrorist assault as primarily caused by Muslim outrage over an amateurish anti-Islam film. As the New York Timesreports, Rice “accurately recited the talking points the intelligence agencies prepared.” And the CIA had purposefully left out information, according to the Times, that “might tip off the malefactors, skew intelligence collection in Libya and interfere with the criminal investigation.”