Washington: The Obama Administration has rejected a demand from a senior Republican lawmaker for the US ambassador to the United Nations to resign.
"The Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton believes that Ambassador (Susan) Rice has done a superb job. We completely reject any such calls here in this building," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters monday.
Nuland was responding to questions about demand being made by Congressman Peter King that Rice should resign following her remarks that the attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi was a result of spontaneous protest, while the US later described this as a terrorist attack.
"When we gave our initial impressions that very first week of how we understood things had happened, we were very careful here, the Secretary was careful to make clear that these were preliminary assessments, that we would have to fully investigate, and to the extent that there were lessons to be learned, we were going to have to take those on board," Nuland explained.
"So thereafter the FBI began its investigation. The Secretary established the accountability review board, as she`s required to do by law. They are now beginning their work. So from where we are sitting here, we want to let those two investigations go forward, teach us what we need to learn, and then take any necessary steps going forward," she said.
"With regard to the intelligence community, they`ve been quite clear, including in the statement that Shawn Turner put out on Friday, that as with the statements that we made, more information has come forward over the course of time, which has given them more of what they need to understand it," Nuland said.
"But it`s their business to assess the intelligence, not ours here," she added.
Meanwhile, in the aftermath of the attack on Benghazi, the State Department has removed all its personnel from this Libyan city.
"All of the essential functions at the Embassy are being maintained. We`re still at a low staffing level, but we`re not at that very, very low level that we were at Friday, Saturday. Benghazi remains closed," she said.