WASHINGTON (AP) -- The State Department says it never concluded that an attack that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya was simply a protest gone awry, a statement that places the Obama administration's own foreign policy arm in sync with Republicans.Okay, so if State "never concluded that an attack that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya was simply a protest gone awry," why the hell was Susan Rice saying this?
That extraordinary message, appearing to question the administration's initial description of the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, came in a department briefing Tuesday - a day before a hearing on diplomatic security in Libya was to be held by the Republican-led House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
GREGORY: The images as you well know are jarring to Americans watching all of this play out this week, and we’ll share the map of all of this turmoil with our viewers to show the scale of it across not just the Arab world, but the entire Islamic world and flashpoints as well. In Egypt, of course, the protests outside the U.S. embassy there that Egyptian officials were slow to put down. This weekend in Pakistan, protests as well there. More anti-American rage. Also protests against the drone strikes. In Yemen, you also had arrests and some deaths outside of our U.S. embassy there. How much longer can Americans expect to see these troubling images and these protests go forward?
MS. RICE: Well, David, we can’t predict with any certainty. But let’s remember what has transpired over the last several days. This is a response to a hateful and offensive video that was widely disseminated throughout the Arab and Muslim world. Obviously, our view is that there is absolutely no excuse for violence and that-- what has happened is condemnable, but this is a-- a spontaneous reaction to a video, and it’s not dissimilar but, perhaps, on a slightly larger scale than what we have seen in the past with The Satanic Verses with the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. Now, the United States has made very clear and the president has been very plain that our top priority is the protection of American personnel in our facilities and bringing to justice those who…
GREGORY: All right.
MS. RICE: …attacked our facility in Benghazi.
GREGORY: Well, let’s talk-- talk about-- well, you talked about this as spontaneous. Can you say definitively that the attacks on-- on our consulate in Libya that killed ambassador Stevens and others there security personnel, that was spontaneous, was it a planned attack? Was there a terrorist element to it?
MS. RICE: Well, let us-- let me tell you the-- the best information we have at present. First of all, there’s an FBI investigation which is ongoing. And we look to that investigation to give us the definitive word as to what transpired. But putting together the best information that we have available to us today our current assessment is that what happened in Benghazi was in fact initially a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired hours before in Cairo, almost a copycat of-- of the demonstrations against our facility in Cairo, which were prompted, of course, by the video. What we think then transpired in Benghazi is that opportunistic extremist elements came to the consulate as this was unfolding. They came with heavy weapons which unfortunately are readily available in post revolutionary Libya. And it escalated into a much more violent episode. Obviously, that’s-- that’s our best judgment now. We’ll await the results of the investigation. And the president has been very clear--we’ll work with the Libyan authorities to bring those responsible to justice.
Emphasis mine. I further understand that Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.
There are more than a few implications here. First of all, I'd love to know why Susan Rice went on television to say these things, which were absurd? If you don't think they were absurd, consider this report from McClatchy, which was filed three days before Susan Rice made her appearance on Meet the Press:
BENGHAZI, Libya — A Libyan security guard who said he was at the U.S. consulate here when it was attacked Tuesday night has provided new evidence that the assault on the compound that left four Americans dead, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, was a planned attack by armed Islamists and not the outgrowth of a protest over an online video that mocks Islam and its founder, the Prophet Muhammad.It's a fair question. I'm sure Darrell Issa will have a few other questions.
The guard, interviewed Thursday in the hospital where he is being treated for five shrapnel wounds in one leg and two bullet wounds in the other, said that the consulate area was quiet – “there wasn’t a single ant outside,” he said – until about 9:35 p.m., when as many as 125 armed men descended on the compound from all directions.
The men lobbed grenades into the compound, wounding the guard and knocking him to the ground, then stormed through the facility’s main gate, shouting “God is great” and moving to one of the many villas that make up the consulate compound. He said there had been no warning that an attack was imminent.
“Wouldn’t you expect if there were protesters outside that the Americans would leave?” the guard said.
So riddle me this -- who the hell decided it would be a good idea to try to blame a terrorist attack on a video that had been out on YouTube for months? And now that a month has passed, why are we only now getting this story?
I will be very curious to see if Susan Rice will fall on her sword. I'll also be curious to see how, or if, Hillary Clinton explains what happened in the sequence of events that brought Susan Rice to the Sunday talk shows.