Susan Rice Will Brief Congress on Syria on Anniversary of Benghazi

Terence P. Jeffrey | September 8, 2013 | 2:36pm EDT
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National Security Adviser Susan Rice (AP Photo)

( - Susan Rice, who falsely told the nation that the terrorist attacks in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012 had developed out of a spontaneous demonstration against a YouTube video, will mark the one year anniversary of those attacks by briefing Congress to make the administration's case for authorizing President Barack Obama to use military force in Syria.

Speaking on CBS's "Face the Nation" today, House Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers (R.-Mich.) pointed to the administration's decision to have Rice brief members of Congress about this issue on the anniversary of the Benghazi attacks as emblematic of the administration's bumbling approach to making its case for intervening in Syria.

On Monday, Rice will give a speech about Syria to the New America Foundation, then speak to the Congressional Black Caucus and participate in a classified briefing that the administration will provide to members of Congress, the Associated Press has reported. She will then participate in another classified briefing for Congress on Wednesday--which will be the twelfth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S. homeland and the one year anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the State Department and CIA facilities in Benghazi, Libya.

House Intelligence Chairman Rogers, who supports taking military action against the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad to punish that regime for using chemical weapons, said he does not believe Obama has effectively made the case for doing so.

"The president hasn't made the case," said Rogers on CBS's Face the Nation. "Again, it's confounding. They're going to send up this week--think about this, this tells you the relationship with Congress, and it's not great: They're sending up Susan Rice to brief Congress on the year anniversary of Benghazi. And they're trying to win votes. I mean the credibility gap there is huge."

On Sept. 16, 2012, five days after the terror attacks on the U.S. State Department's Special Mission and the CIA's Annex in Benghazi, Libya, Rice--who was then the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations--went on four Sunday morning talk shows and said the attacks in Benghazi had arisen out of a spontaneous demonstration against an anti-Muslim video that had been posted on YouTube.

“Putting together the best information that we have available to us today," Rice, for example, said on NBC's "Meet the Press that day, "our current assessment is that what happened in Benghazi was in fact initially a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired hours before in Cairo, almost a copycat of--of the demonstrations against our facility in Cairo, which were prompted, of course, by the video. What we think then transpired in Benghazi is that opportunistic extremist elements came to the consulate as this was unfolding.”

In fact, the U.S. personnel on the ground in Libya that day never reported that there was a spontaneous demonstration in Benghazi--because there had not been one.

At 4:05 p.m. Washington, D.C., on Sept. 11, 2012--only 23 minutes after the terrorist attacks in Benghazi started--the State Department Operations Center sent an email to the White House, the Director of National Intelligence and the Pentagon, stating that the U.S. mission in Benghazi "was under attack." The email, which was later obtained by CBS News, said nothing about a demonstration.

The email carried the tagline: "U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi Under Attack."

It said: "The Regional Security Officer says the diplomatic mission is under attack. Embassy Tripoli reports approximately 20 armed people fired shots; explosions have been heard as well. Ambassador Stevens, who is currently in Benghazi, and four COM personnel are in the compound safe haven. The 17th February militia is providing security support. The Operations Center will provide updates as available."

About two hours later, at 6:07 p.m, as the attacks continued to unfold, the Operations Center sent another email the the National Security Staff at the White House.

This one revealed that the group Ansar al Sharia was already taking credit for the terrorism.

The tagline on this email said: "Ansar al-Sharia Claims Responsibility for Benghazi Attack."

The text said: "Embassy Tripoli reports the group claimed responsibility on Facebook and Twitter and has called for an attack on Embassy Tripoli."

It was five days after the State Department itself sent out this email that Ambassador Rice told the nation the attack had arisen out of a spontaneous reaction to a video.

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