After meeting with U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice this morning, three key Republican senators emerged to say they’re more troubled — not less — by what they say were intelligence failures and misleading information concerning the September attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, which left four Americans dead.
One, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, said it’s too soon to even be speculating about promoting Rice to be secretary of state.
Congress needs to see “FBI interviews of survivors … and what was said the night of the attack” about who might be responsible, Graham said, before considering the promotion of anyone who was involved in handling the intelligence before or after the Benghazi attack.
Graham was joined by senators John McCain of Arizona and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire. She said she’s “more troubled, not less,” after talking with Rice and top U.S. intelligence officials about the attacks.
Though President Obama has not yet nominated anyone to succeed Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (who plans to soon leave), McCain, Graham and some other Republicans have already been saying they have doubts about whether Rice should get that job. They say she misled the nation by saying that the attacks may have begun as protests over a anti-Muslim video produced in California. The Obama administration and Rice’s supporters say she was relying on guidance from intelligence agencies and that she did note that extremists may have been involved in the attacks.
She’ll be meeting with other lawmakers. As The Associated Press writes, “Rice’s series of meetings on Capitol Hill this week will therefore be a critical test both for Republicans, who will decide whether they can support her, and the administration, which must gauge whether Rice has enough support to merit a nomination.”