NEW YORK – United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice has refused to issue an apology to the families of U.S. diplomats killed in the Benghazi, Libya, attack on the anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks in New York and Washington.
The refusal comes amidst a growing controversy that Rice gave fictitious accounts about the Libyan attack to several television networks more than five days after they occurred.
It was Rice who was appointed the Obama administration’s “point person” to brief the U.S. public during countless interviews on Sunday morning TV talk shows.
The U.S. diplomat repeatedly explained that the best information available at the time pointed to a “spontaneous” demonstration at the Benghazi consulate which was hijacked by elements sympathetic to al-Qaida.
The demonstrations, Rice explained, were a response to a video on YouTube that painted the prophet Mohammad in a “demeaning” tone.
That explanation has since proven to have been false in subsequent testimony by State Department intelligence officials to the House Select Committee on Intelligence.
Rice has remained silent on just who provided her with the “talking points” she referred to during her Sunday morning interviews.
While Rice has confirmed that she received intelligence briefings, the State Department insists it did not come from them, even though Secretary of State Hillary Clinton repeated many of Rice’s initial assessments.
Diplomatic sources speculate that the source of Rice’s talking points came from inside the White House itself.
In a statement. Rice spokesperson Erin Pelton emailed:
“At every turn, Ambassador Rice provided and said she was providing the best information and the best assessment the administration had at the time.”
When asked why an apology for the misinformation, which was so widely disseminated, was not offered to the families of the dead diplomats and the American public, Pelton went silent.
Rice, personally contacted through emails, twice, refused any comment or apology.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland also opted to remain silent.
White House press secretary Jay Carney refused comment.
In subsequent background briefings, State Department intelligence officials insist they never told Rice spontaneous demonstrations spurred the Libyan attack.
In fact, State Department officials told the House Intelligence committee that the Libyan operation was well planned and executed by local elements sympathetic to al-Qaida.
U.S. Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee and a member of the Select Committee on Intelligence, told reporters Rice should offer her resignation.
Speaking on CNN, King explained:
“I believe that this was such a failure of foreign policy, such a misstatement of facts as was known at the time, to me, someone (Rice) must pay the price.”
Rice, who is said to be on short list to succeed Hillary Clinton in a possible second Obama administration, is said by Capitol Hill sources to be in serious trouble if her name should come up for Senate confirmation.