Former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice broke with the majority of her party last night on Fox News, as she tried to hit the brakes on the right wing’s politicization of the recent attack in Libya.
Host Greta Van Susteren asked Rice directly and repeatedly about a set of emails uncovered by Reuters. In what has been dubbed “Benghazi-Gate,” the conservative media has jumped on the emails as definitive proof that the Obama administration has been lying about what it knew and when in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attack on a diplomatic mission in Benghazi. Rice’s response was likely not what Van Susteren expected:
RICE: But when things are unfolding very, very quickly, it’s not always easy to know what is really going on on the ground. And to my mind, the really important questions here are about how information was collected. Did the various agencies really coordinate and share intelligence in the way that we had hoped, with the reforms that were made after 9/11?
So there’s a big picture to be examined here. But we don’t have all of the pieces, and I think it’s easy to try and jump to conclusions about what might have happened here. It’s probably better to let the relevant bodies do their work.
Watch Rice’s full interview here:
Throughout the interview, Rice highlighted the difficulty that comes in a “fog of war” situation, with multiple stories coming in which need to be processed and verified. Her statements strongly align with the evolution of the Obama administration’s understanding of what happened in Benghazi. Rice also joined current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in dismissing the big picture importance of the emails from the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, as a small portion of the overall communication between the mission and the State Department.
With her reasoned response, Rice stands apart from other former Bush administration officials, including former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Both Rumsfeld and Bolton have repeatedly insisted that the Obama administration has performed a cover-up of the events in Benghazi.