Washington: Having faced an intense Republican criticism of her explanation on Benghazi attack, the US ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice on Tuesday confessed that an initial report given by her over the raid on US consulate was “incorrect”, the BBC reports.
Ever since the September 11 attack on the US consulate in Benghazi killed four Americans, including the US envoy Christopher Stevens, the Republicans have been slamming the statements of Susan Rice that blamed the attack on a violent protesters’ mob, angry over an anti-Islam film.
The later reports by the American intelligence hinted at the involvement of al Qaeda-inspired militant groups in the attack.
To discuss the issue, three senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte met privately with Ms Rice and acting CIA Director Michael Morell at Capitol Hill.
After the closed-door meeting with three Senators, where she answered their questions on the raid in Libya, Susan Rice said.
"The talking points provided by the intelligence community, and the initial assessment upon which they were based, were incorrect in a key respect: there was no protest or demonstration in Benghazi.
"While we certainly wish that we had had perfect information just days after the terrorist attack, as is often the case the intelligence assessment has evolved."
But the senators were hardly appeased by Susan Rice’s concessions, with Mc Cain saying that he was “troubled” by her explanation.
“We are significantly troubled by many of the answers that we got and some that we didn't get”, said John McCain.
Another Senator Graham said, "Bottom line I'm more disturbed now than I was before that 16 September explanation."
Reacting to the Senators’ statements, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said that Republicans were over “obsessed” with the issue and that there were "no unanswered questions" about Ms Rice's explanation.
"The focus on, some might say, obsession on comments made on Sunday shows seems to me and to many, to be misplaced," he added.
Rice's unusual visit to Capitol Hill - typically only nominees meet privately with lawmakers - reflects the Obama administration's campaign for the current front-runner to replace Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton against some strenuous GOP opposition.
House Democrats, including female members of the Congressional Black Caucus, have suggested that the GOP opposition to Rice is sexist and racist.
Senate Democrats, who will increase their advantage to 55-45 in the next Congress, said Rice could win confirmation if Republicans recognize the unfairness of penalizing her for the intelligence community's talking points.
Rice, who at 48 is relatively young, has been known to covet the job for years, but was passed over for Clinton in 2009.
With Agency Inputs
First Published: Wednesday, November 28, 2012, 11:18