Susan Rice Misspeaks: Focus on Benghazi Talking Points ‘Bigger Tragedy’ Than Actual Terrorist Attack

February 20, 2013 - 3:15 PM

susan rice

Susan Rice, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, went on several national news programs on Sept. 16 and claimed that the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya on Sept. 11 was caused by a spontaneous uprising sparked by an obscure anti-Muslim YouTube video. (AP)

(CNSNews.com) – United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice apparently misspoke during a Comedy Central interview when she said that the investigation into the talking points surrounding the terrorist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya was a “bigger tragedy” than the actual terrorism attack itself, in which four Americans were killed, including our ambassador.

“There’s always confusion when you have a tragedy of that sort and Americans are killed,” Rice told Jon Stewart on The Daily Show on Thursday. “The bigger tragedy, Jon, is we've spent all of these months trying to figure out the origin of some talking points, which were cleared at the highest levels of the intelligence community and, in my opinion, not enough time doing the service that we owe to our fallen colleagues.”

Rice was reportedly President Barack Obama’s first choice to be the Secretary of State in his second term. However, the potential nomination was derailed because Rice said on several Sunday morning news programs five days after the Sept. 11, 2012 attack that the terrorist assault on the Benghazi compound resulted from a spontaneous protest over a YouTube video.

The administration later admitted that the attack was a pre-planned terrorist attack. Four Americans were killed during the attack, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

During the interview, Stewart presented his own summary of the timeline, bringing up former CIA Director David Petraeus, Acting CIA Director Michael J. Morell, former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, and Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

Jon Stewart, host of

Comedian Jon Stewart, host of "The Daily Show" on Comedy Central. (AP photo)

“There is an undercurrent in the Republican opposition that suggests a malevolence to this. But here is just what from my perspective does strike me as odd,” Stewart said. “So, you get talking points. On Nov. 16, Petraeus told Congress the CIA didn’t change the talking points. White House and State said they didn’t do it. CIA told CBS News changes were made at senior level and interagency process because they didn’t want al Qaeda being tipped off. Then the director of the Office of National Intelligence told CBS they made the changes, the al Qaeda links were too tenuous. Then the CIA director told McCain and Graham the FBI did it. Then Morell said, ‘Did I say FBI? I didn’t mean FBI, I meant CIA.’ Then Panetta said he believed at the time that it was a pre-planned terrorist attack.”

Stewart asked, “So, you can see for people, it does look like there is a great deal of confusion there. Yes?”

Rice responded by calling the focus on talking points tragic.

“There’s always confusion when you have a tragedy of that sort and Americans are killed,” Rice said. “The bigger tragedy, Jon, is we've spent all of these months trying to figure out the origin of some talking points which were cleared at the highest levels of the intelligence community and, in my opinion, not enough time doing the service that we owe to our fallen colleagues.”

CNSNews.com called Rice’s office for a comment. The office declined to provide an on the record or even background comment explaining Rice’s comment during the Comedy Central interview.