United Nations: Tough-talking US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice has dismissed as "unfounded" the Republican criticism of her remarks on the deadly attack on the American embassy in Libya, saying it was based on inputs provided by the intelligence community.
Days after the American embassy in Benghazi was targeted, 48-year-old Rice, a frontrunner to replace Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, had appeared on several TV news shows and said the September 11 attack was a spontaneous assault on US premises in the wake of the protests over an anti-Muslim film.
US Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other American consular staff were killed in the attack.
The US had later termed it as a terrorist attack.
Rice termed Senator John McCain`s scathing criticism of her as "unfounded". "I have great respect for Senator McCain and his service to our country....I do think that some of the statements he`s made about me have been unfounded, but I look forward to having the opportunity at the appropriate time to discuss all of this with him," she said.
"When discussing the attacks against our facilities in Benghazi, I relied solely and squarely on the information provided to me by the intelligence community.
I made clear that the information was preliminary and that our investigations would give us the definitive answers," Rice told reporters outside the UN Security Council yesterday.
She said the intelligence community has worked in "good faith" to provide the best assessment of the Benghazi attack based on the information available.
Rice said she had agreed to a White House request to appear on the Sunday news shows to talk about the "full range" of national security issues, which at that time had primarily focused on the protests against American diplomatic facilities around the world.
This was the first time that Rice clarified her position on her Benghazi remarks after the Republicans accused her of misleading the nation over the nature of the attacks.
While President Barack Obama has strongly defended Rice over the way she handled the response to the Benghazi attack, Republican Senator John McCain has vowed to block any attempt by Obama to promote her to the post of Secretary of State, which requires confirmation by the US Senate.
Rice said the Obama administration would not rest till it has all the answers about the attack and the "terrorists responsible for this attack are brought to justice.
"The FBI and the State Department?s Accountability Review Board are conducting investigations as we speak, and they will look into all aspects of this heinous terrorist attack to provide what will become the definitive accounting of what occurred," she added.