Republican Senators have had their sights set on U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice lately, threatening to block her nomination as Secretary of State because she went on a few Sunday morning shows and said incorrect stuff about the terror attacks in Benghazi September 11. Today, the Senate Intelligence Committee released the CIA talking points Rice was given. Committee Chairwoman Diane Feinstein read this list out to reporters (via Politico's Scott Wong) after the hearing today:
- The currently available information suggests that the demonstrations in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the United States embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct assault against United States diplomatic posts in Benghazi and subsequently its annex.
- There are indications extremists participated in the violent demonstrations.
- This assessment may change as additional information is collected and analyzed and as currently available information continues to be evaluated.
- The investigation is ongoing and the United States government is working with Libyan authorities to bring justice to those responsible for the deaths of United States citizens.
So the first takeaway the Senate saying that Rice was working with CIA information. The second point, is, and what's making Republicans like John McCain, Kelly Ayotte and Lindsey Graham so mad, is that they insist she said the killings were a spontaneous response to the Innocence of Muslims film, that she should have known sooner that the information she had was incorrect, and that she should have known better than to make those comments. Well, that isn't quite what she said. We took a look at her statements to ABC's This Week, CBS's Face The Nation, and Fox News Sunday and compared them to the two major CIA talking points Republicans are railing against (we italicized the similarities):
CIA Talking Point: The currently available information suggests that the demonstrations in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the United States embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct assault against United States diplomatic posts in Benghazi and subsequently its annex.
What Rice Told ABC: 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