The conservative reaction to the tragedy in Benghazi has been to lurch from conspiracy theory to conspiracy theory for months in an effort to portray the Obama administration as mishandeling the responseto the attack. Now, while some have crowed their pleasure that Rice has withdrawn her name from consideration to replace Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, several on the right have managed to read much more sinister motives into the timing behind the announcement.
Blending together reports that Clinton might not testify before Congress on Dec. 20 as previously thought, with Rice’s stepping aside, a new narrative has emerged where an even deeper cover-up is now taking place. Leading among those believe this new theory is Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), who on Thursday accused the Obama administration of pushing Rice out to draw attention away from a forthcoming report from the State Department on Benghazi:
CHAFFETZ: The State Department owes us a report. That’s why I think that’s why Susan Rice made the announcement today, because I think we’re on the verge of getting that report. But you’re starting to see the State Department squirm a little bit. They’re starting to say, “Well, we’ll just give you the summary, maybe Secretary Clinton might not come up.” I think the report — if it’s done accurately — is gonna be a very difficult thing for the White House, the State Department, the Department of Defense, and the CIA to explain.
The hosts of Fox & Friends jumped on the comment on Friday morning and ran with it. Host Gretchen Carlson wondered out loud, “Usually they make these announcements on Fridays, why did they do it on a Thursday? Perhaps this report will be coming out today, which will be the Friday release, or sometime soon.”
The State Department’s Accountability Review Board (ARB) will complete its report in the coming days, but it’s yet unknown when it will be released.
Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), chief antagonists against Rice’s potential nomination, have vowed to continue their pursuit of the truth in the Benghazi attack.