Defense & National Security

Benghazi ties may scuttle Secretary of State for Rice

Benghazi ties may scuttle Secretary of State for Rice

The White House’s reported favorite for the position of Secretary of State may be thwarted by ties to the administration’s apparent misinformation campaign in the wake of terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya.

U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice moved through Senate confirmation for her current position without a hitch. But her name may now be inextricably tied to scandal following Benghazi. The weekend following the deadly Sept. 11 attacks, Rice made appearances on five news shows, characterizing the violence as a spontaneous response to an anti-Muslim YouTube video.

When it became apparent the attacks were actually terrorism-related, House Homeland Security Committee chairman Peter King (R-N.Y.) called for Rice’s resignation in disgrace.

In an uncharacteristic move, some Senators are speaking out in advance of a White House nomination to say they could never approve Rice after such a scandal.

“Susan Rice would not be a fitting replacement at the State Department should Secretary Clinton step down,” Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) said in a statement to Human Events.

Inhofe, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which would have to approve Rice’s nomination before it went before the full Senate for a vote, said he took issue with a host of liberal policies that Rice had pursued in her tenure as U.N. ambassador. But he said the most disturbing objection was the role she played in keeping the truth about Benghazi from the American people.

“This, when earlier in the week, another senior State Department official readily acknowledged that it was a was a “semi-complex attack, and not something planned the morning of the attack,” Inhofe said. “Such a poor record of leadership, management and judgment lead me to oppose Susan Rice as a possible nominee for the State Department.”

Other members of the committee said they would wait to hear testimony from Rice before making a decision.

“We have a process for nominations, and I want to give (Rice) the full hearing,” said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), another committee member. “We have a process for nominations and I want to give her the full hearing. I’m concerned about the fact that she went on Sunday shows and said this was the product of a spontaneous uprising as opposed to a terrorist attack. Obviously, she based those comments on directives or information that she had, and it’s important to know where those directives came from and what exactly that information was.”

Committee member Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) also reserved judgment.

“There will be a thorough vetting of whomever the president nominates, and that will certainly include Ms. Rice,” he said in a statement to Human Events.

Sen. Bob Corker seemed less open to a Rice nomination, telling reporters that her statements on Benghazi were “beyond belief.”

Earlier this week, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Rice may face opposition in the full Senate, even if she makes it past the Foreign Relations Committee.

“I can’t see voting for anyone associated with Benghazi at this point,” he said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “…I’m not going to promote somebody who I think has misled the country or who I see as incompetent. That’s what I think of Susan Rice.”

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